State Senator Terry Link hasn't had a lot of success politically branching out from Lake County, as he lost recent bids for president of the State Senate and also got crushed in his bid for Illinois Lieutenant Governor.
But in Lake County, he rules with an iron hand.
He's been Chairman of the Lake County Democratic Party for over 15 years now. After all, he built it into what it is today, going back to when Lake County was a solid red.
His vast network of cronies and political supporters (captained by our friend "Sneaky" Pete Couvall) knows no equal.
And now, he's in charge of naming a replacement to fill the vacancy in the 60th State Legislative District caused by the untimely death of Eddie Washington. Who has he turned to to help choose a successor? None other than a convicted felon, Cynthia Alexander.
Alexander is a frequent go-to person for Link, and has worked on his campaigns for pay, not to mention helped out for other political tasks, such as objecting to Republican nominating petitions.
According to the Daily Herald archives,
Alexander was a Long Grove criminal defense lawyer, and considered as judge material in some circles, when she was indicted in September 1990. Federal prosecutors said she helped a man who had a $6,000-a-day cocaine business in Waukegan and North Chicago, where Alexander now lives.
Federal Bureau of Prisons records show Alexander, now 47, was convicted of aiding and abetting a conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine. She began serving a seven-year penitentiary term July 8, 1992.
Alexander was released from a federal prison in downstate Pekin on Nov. 26, 1997. She was placed on five years probation after the release, according to the prisons bureau.
(Daily Herald, February 16, 2006, "Democratic Party leader hired ex-con - Whether that's a bad thing is up for debate among watchdogs and experts," by Bob Susnjara)
The Waukegan News-Sun reported today that Link had appointed Alexander to serve on the nominating committee to replace Washington, for which the power struggle to succeed poor Eddie started among the cutthroat Dems even before the body was cold.
The News-Sun forgot to mention the little bitty detail about Alexander having served time and being a felon, but hey, it's just Lake County politics, after all. Alexander has also worked for other Lake County political figures such as perennial 10th Congressional candidate Dan Seals.
Link has been unapologetic about tapping Alexander in the past and paying her for political work, contending that she deserves a second chance.
But does appointing a felon to help fill a vacancy to the Illinois General Assembly go a bit far?
Why they are even going through the motions, I don't know, since County Board member Angelo Kyle is going to get it.