HERALD STAFF REPORT
State Rep. Curtis Tarver II (D-25th) took his much-anticipated oath of office today in Springfield, succeeding former House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, who retired after 40 years.
Illinois Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan (D) administered the oath to the representatives en masse, including Rep. Christian Mitchell (D-26th), who has announced his pending resignation to become Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker’s (D) deputy governor. The ceremony was held at the University of Illinois at Springfield.
Tarver and Mitchell both voted for Speaker Michael Madigan (D-22nd) in the new House’s first roll call vote.
Tarver’s first press release as a member of the General Assembly mentioned his five-year-old daughter, whose experiences in Chicago Public Schools have motivated her father’s interest in early childhood education.
“We have a lot of work to do but I look forward to fighting for equitable opportunities for all students no matter their zip code,” Tarver said in the statement.
Tarver also mentioned his legal and business experience in the statement.
“As an attorney, I made it my life’s work to stand up for people who’ve faced discrimination,” Tarver said. “In the courtroom, I made sure the voices of people in my community were represented justly.” Tarver said he would “even the playing field” for South Side families through investment in schools, criminal justice system reform and promoting local economic growth.
As small business owner — his Vice District Brewing Company has locations in the South Loop and Homewood, Illinois — Tarver said he was motivated “to take a hard look at the restrictions and regulations that Illinois places on small businesses — the largest employer in the state — and cut through the red tape.”
“Everything about our neighborhoods — from our schools to our crime rates and property values — will improve if we empower regular folks to start their own businesses and build their local economies,” he said.
Tarver’s spokeswoman did not anticipate that he would give his maiden speech as a legislator today. General Assembly committee memberships have not yet been assigned.
Democrats hold a 74-44 majority in the Illinois House.