Ald. Ariel Reboyras leads a tainted process in naming new state rep

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Ald. Ariel Reboyras wanted to be the guy who picked a successor to former state Rep. Luis Arroyo, who resigned from the Legislature earlier this month in the face of federal bribery charges.

Arroyo, though under a cloud, wanted a say, too.

So Reboyras and Arroyo worked out a deal last weekend, and the alderman arrived at a meeting of Democratic committeemen armed with the necessary votes.

Arroyo, who as committeeman of the 36th Ward controlled 37% of the weighted vote in choosing his replacement, agreed to allow Reboyras to vote as his proxy. Reboyras also controlled another 16% of the vote as committeeman of the 30th Ward, giving him a majority.

By involving Arroyo, Reboyras tainted the process, and that should not stand.

We urge the Illinois House to challenge Reboyras’ pick — Eva-Dina Delgado, an assistant to the president of People’s Gas — as Speaker Mike Madigan has threatened to do.

And, no, this would not be a “discriminatory effort to disenfranchise Latino voters,” as Reboyras has claimed. This would be a modest step toward greater integrity in Illinois politics.

We don’t mean to knock Delgado. She might have the makings of a fine legislator. But in maneuvering for her election, Reboyras should have steered clear of Arroyo, even at the risk of being outvoted.

In his resignation letter from the Legislature, Arroyo wrote that remaining in public office would create a distraction for the House. Yet that is exactly what he’s done here, with Reboyras as his enabler.


Then state Rep. Luis Arroyo leaves Dirksen Federal Building on Monday, October 28.
Santiago Covarrubias/For the Sun-Times

Madigan last week warned the group of Democratic committeemen responsible for picking Arroyo’s replacement that allowing Arroyo to take part in the process, directly or indirectly, “would cause the candidate’s qualifications to be challenged by the full Illinois House of Representatives.”

Reboyras fired back at Madigan in a letter, saying that Arroyo’s constituents shouldn’t be discounted. It was in that letter that Reboyras called Madigan’s request an effort to “disenfranchise Latino voters.” The alderman also threatened to sue if the committeemen’s choice to replace Arroyo is challenged.

Reboyras has it wrong. This mess is on him and Arroyo, who has no business choosing his replacement. If Arroyo’s voters have now been disenfranchised in this selection process, that’s on him, too.

In a court of law, there is a presumption of innocence. In politics, voters are perfectly free to demand a higher bar of presumed integrity.

Arroyo has failed those who voted for him. Reboyras fails to see it.

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