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Senators Jockey to Replace Jones

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Illinois Democrats are eagerly campaigning for the state Senate presidency. The current leader, 72-year-old Emil Jones, announced plans to retire this fall. Senator Ricky Hendon was one of the first to announce his interest in the job.

HENDON: There are many of us that are looking at seeing if we can gather the votes. There are about eight at the last count. So I would be flattered if the members chose me, and I would serve them well if they put me in the position.

Evanston Democrat Jeff Schoenberg also wants the Senate’s top spot. To get it, he’s stressing his outsider credentials.

SCHOENBERG: It’s my view that most Senate Democrats, as well as many people throughout Illinois, are looking for a fresh start, and the opportunity to have more open and transparent for the Senate Democrats.

Meantime, some members of Illinois’ congressional delegation are praising Jones. In Chicago yesterday, Congressman Rahm Emanuel listed Jones’ accomplishments.

EMANUEL: Emil’s done a lot to make sure Illinois invests in its future and grows the state. And you can do that on the education front, the physical infrastructure - its roads, its bridges, other types of things. And my view is he will always be active in Illinois in making sure that we continue to promote our state.

That statement was echoed by a big-ticket politician Jones mentored in the state capitol, U.S. Senator Barack Obama. A spokesman for Obama’s presidential campaign says the senator is confident Jones will keep serving the people of Illinois during retirement.

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