Sara Wojcicki Jimenez is an alumni of the SIUe Mass Communications Department. She graduated in 2001 in Mass Comm and Sociology. Congratulations, Sara!
Sara Wojcicki Jimenez chosen to replace Raymond Poe in Illinois House
Sara Wojcicki Jimenez, right, walks alongside First Lady Diana Rauner at the Capitol in February. Jimenez was announced Friday as the replacement for Rep. Raymond Poe, who left the House to become Illinois Department of Agriculture director. (Rich Saal/The State Journal-Register)
Story written By Bernard Schoenburg, Political Writer
Sara Wojcicki Jimenez, chief of staff to Illinois first lady Diana Rauner, was chosen Friday to replace former state Rep. Raymond Poe in the 99th House District.Rosemarie Long, who chairs the Sangamon County Republican Party, said Jimenez was the choice of Gov. Bruce Rauner, but she also had the backing of several other current and former officials.“She’s very qualified,” Long said of Jimenez, 36, a Leland Grove resident and former elected member of the Springfield Park Board.“This is a very huge responsibility that I’m going to take very seriously,” said Jimenez, who will be sworn in next week.Poe resigned his House seat to take an appointment from Rauner as director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture. Long said previously that Poe had backed Gray Noll, a Sangamon County assistant state’s attorney, as his successor.Noll was among candidates who applied for the appointment, but Long said a range of officials, in addition to the governor, backed Jimenez. They included U.S. Reps. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, and Darin LaHood, R-Peoria, as well as state Rep. Tim Butler of Springfield, former state Rep. Rich Brauer of Petersburg, Sangamon County Coroner Cinda Edwards and Sangamon County Board Chairman Andy Van Meter.Another of the applicants for the job, Leland Grove lawyer Kent Gray, was distributing petitions for the seat Friday and said he expected to enter the March GOP primary.A Democratic member of the Sangamon County Board, lawyer Tony DelGiorno, on Tuesday announced his candidacy for the 99th District seat.Long and two Sangamon County GOP precinct committeemen — Collins Pieper and Mary Sneed —made up the selection committee that met with candidates Friday and chose Jimenez.Jimenez will serve the remainder of Poe’s current term, which runs until January 2017. An election will be held in November 2016 to select who fills the seat after that. Jimenez said she plans on entering the race to win a full term.“I’m just very thankful to the Sangamon County Republicans for appointing me to this seat,” she said. “I plan to get to work right away talking to people about the issues.”Reporter turned politicianJimenez is former television reporter and anchor, including at WICS-TV Channel 20. After leaving television, she was a spokeswoman for state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, a Democrat. She also worked in communications for then-House Republican Leader Tom Cross and Republican Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka. She started as Diana Rauner’s chief of staff in January.