Rep. Graham will help select her replacement in Illinois House

State Rep. Deborah Graham (D-Oak Park), who will be sworn in Friday morning as the next 29th Ward alderman, will help choose her replacement in the Illinois House. The four-term state representative will be one of seven elected Democratic Party officials who will interview and select who will represent the state’s 78th District, which includes some of the west suburbs and parts of Chicago’s Austin neighborhood, and be the Democratic nominee for that seat in the November general election. Graham’s replacement must be named 30 days from the date she steps down from the Illinois General Assembly. Having a successor in place will be important as lawmakers could be preparing to cast votes on critical matters such as the state budget and a possible tax hike. Graham is participating in the process as the committeeman from the 29th Ward.

Some see silver lining in Park National Bank cloud

No matter what the outcome in the Park National Bank seizure, the situation has broken down barriers between the Austin community and Oak Park residents. It’s the silver lining in the cloud that has hung over those two communities since  October. That’s when the popular neighborhood bank, located in Oak Park, was seized by federal regulators, said Rev. Marshall Hatch, a member of the Coalition to Save Community Banking, a grassroots organization formed in response to the takeover and forced sale. “There’s much less of a barrier between Austin and Oak Park,” said Hatch, representing the New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church in West Garfield Park. “This has brought people together.