College of DuPage Board of Trustees Chairwoman Deanne Mazzochi has been appointed to fill a seat on the state legislature that recently became vacant after state Rep. Patti Bellock, R-Hinsdale, was appointed director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.
Bellock previously had announced she would not seek re-election. Mazzochi is running in November's general election against Democrat James "Jim" Caffrey for the seat. She ran unopposed in March in the Republican primary.
The Republican 47th House District Selection Committee on July 16 announced Mazzochi's appointment to the seat.
“Deanne Mazzochi is a fiscally-responsible reformer dedicated to taxpayers and we’re excited to send her to Springfield early,” said DuPage County GOP Chairman Brian Krajewski in a news release. “As COD chairman, she helped turn around the scandal-plagued community college. Thanks in large part to her leadership, it is now back on track as one of the best educational resources for our area.”
Mazzochi was elected board chairwoman for the third consecutive year at the board's annual organizational meeting April 19. Mazzochi was elected to the board for a six-year term in April 2015 and served as vice chairwoman before being named acting chairwoman in December of that year. In April 2016, Mazzochi was elected for her first full-year term as chairwoman of the board.
She grew up in Villa Park and currently lives in Elmhurst with her husband and two children.
"I am grateful for this appointment to serve the people of the 47th District,” Mazzochi said in the release. “Our communities are accustomed to the excellent services that Representative Bellock provided, and we are committed to maintaining them. Residents already have reached out to me on issues ranging from O'Hare and Tollway expansion, redistricting, property taxes, budget, and social services. I'm excited to get started and direct my energy and experience learning and listening to find creative ways to help this district, and to advocate for good policy during the November legislative veto session.”
It is unclear how the appointment will affect her seat on the COD Board of Trustees. If she wins the election, she would not take her seat until January 2019, and the next COD board officer election would be in April or May 2019.
"I do not believe it would be in the best interests of the college under those circumstances for me to continue to serve in dual roles for a lengthy period of time," Mazzochi had previously said in an email prior to her appointment. "That said, I do not have at this time any details for the specific timing of a resignation and/or filling a seat...cross that bridge if and when we get to it. Ultimately, I'll need to see where we are; my fundamental goal as to COD would be to ensure that there is a smooth transition so that the college does not experience a lag time in any business that needs to be accomplished."
Caffrey had previously said the best decision would be to appoint someone who is not running to replace Bellock.
“The process of one person retiring early from a seat so that the political parties’ preferred candidate can assume incumbency is not the right way to govern," he had said in a news release. "It simply validates our state’s reputation where political parties game the system for their own benefit instead of serving in the best interest of the public."