McLean County Board elects surprise new chair at thursday meeting
Written by Lexi Muoghalu on September 18, 2023
Bloomington, Ill. – On September 6, John McIntyre resigned as Mclean County Board Chair, shocking the Bloomington-Normal community. Vice Chair Elizabeth Johnston stepped into his position temporarily until a new Chair could be appointed during the County Board Meeting on September 14.
However, during the meeting, a board member representing the Democratic Party was denied the right to attend via Zoom, leaving all representatives from the Republican Party present and one more vote than the Democratic Party.
This resulted in a narrow victory for local Republicans, in which Catherine Metsker was elected the new Chair. McLean County Democratic Party chair Patrick Cortesi was in attendance and was in disbelief with the ending result.
“If I’m being honest, this was rather shortsighted by the local Republicans, which folks are going to be able to see it for what it was and recognize that they are only good at denying people the right to vote and at denying people representation. I think folks in McLean County are getting rather sick and tired of it,” said Cortesi.
Cortesi continued and shared that his party has been working hard for equal representation, which was stripped away from them at Thursday’s meeting.
“It’s unfortunate that this is where we’re at. Democrats have been working really hard in doing business with the county, in representing the residents and making sure we’re doing the most good for the most people. And we can only do that when everyone is represented, and all the vacancies are filled,” Cortesi said. “We don’t have time for these partisan games. That’s not what we’re there for, and that’s not in the job description of a county board member.”
Despite being part of the Democratic Party, Cortesi explains that his party’s intentions were more extensive than just wanting to win the Chair but wanting the best for the community.
“It’s getting incredibly frustrating when voters elected a split board, and they wanted to see equal representation on that board between Democrats and Republicans,” Cortesi said. “Democrats recognized that and were willing to compromise between Lizzy Johnston and John McIntyre. It’s equitable, and it’s fair. Even if that meant we gave up the chair, it would do the most good for the most people of McLean County.”