WHEATON – When City Council member Evelyn Pacino Sanguinetti was announced as the lieutenant governor candidate for republican businessman Bruce Rauner's gubernatorial bid, she knew it would tax her already full schedule.
But she says she won't let her responsibilities to the residents of Wheaton slip through the cracks.
"I took an oath to serve the people of the city of Wheaton, and I plan to adhere to that oath," she said after an Oct. 14 council planning meeting.
Just that morning, she called a resident about a problem they had with their fence, she said.
Pacino Sanguinetti said she plans to finish her term through the November 2014 general election, assuming she and Rauner are still in the running at that point. Her council seat is up for reelection in May 2015.
Wheaton Mayor Mike Gresk said his colleague would likely be able to hold down her position on the council during the race, citing former city council member Jeanne Ives, who kept her council seat while campaigning for state representative.
"In the two-plus years I've worked with Evelyn, she's always been very thoughtful and articulate in expressing her point of view," Gresk said in a previous interview. "I wish her well. She's a very energetic, very intelligent woman."
Pacino Sanguinetti will balance weekly council meetings, work as an attorney and life at home with a husband and kids, in addition to near-daily candidate commitments, she said.
She will likely have to cut back on teaching at the John Marshall School of Law, she said, and has talked to her firm about looking at "other possibilities" if she and Rauner make it past the primaries.
Through it all, she said she has the support of her family.
"They think that they're going to be moving to Springfield and that they'll have unlimited access to all the museums and I'll let them think that because they're still on board," she said.
Pacino Sanguinetti said that though she was interviewed several times by the Rauner campaign staff, she learned she was the lieutenant governor selection only a few days before the official announcement on Oct. 8.
"They told me that I was picked and that they admired my tenacity and my life story," she said.
Pacino Sanguinetti is the daughter of two immigrants and grew up in poverty, speaking English as a second language.
"They admire the fact that I am a product of the safety net. I took government aid," she said. "But that said, I don't believe it's the role of government to just be government aid. It's the role of the state to give us sound jobs and a sound education so that people who are in that safety net can get out of it and be all they can be."
Pacino Sanguinetti said she offered the voice and experience of a woman and a Latina to Rauner's campaign, and has worked in government in multiple capacities. She added that, unlike some of her predecessors, she "most definitely want[s]" to be lieutenant governor.
"Wherever Bruce is not, I will be there in his stead," she said. "That's our mission. I will be his partner."
Despite the sacrifices, Pacino Sanguinetti said that she won't be complaining about long days spent on the campaign trail.
"I am in this race to win it."