Three days after casting his vote in favor of an increase from 3 to 5 percent in state income taxes, state Sen. Louis Viverito (D-11th) announced he has retired from the office he’s held since 1994, a spokesman for the senator has confirmed.

Viverito a Burbank resident, represented most of Brookfield and a good portion of Riverside. He was most recently re-elected to the state Senate in 2008, with a term ending in 2012.

“He’s been talking about it for a couple of years,” said Viverito spokesman John Chapple, on Tuesday. “It just came time.”

In addition to his vote on the income tax increase, Viverito was the state legislator who authored a law outlawing any municipality from imposing an amusement tax on a zoo operating on land owned by the Cook County Forest Preserve District.

That law, which passed the Illinois General Assembly on Jan. 7, appears to have thwarted a bid by the Village of Brookfield to impose a 25-cent-per-head tax on admission at Brookfield Zoo. The village imposed the tax in December despite the protests of the Chicago Zoological Society, which operates Brookfield Zoo.

The society lobbied state legislators to pass a law against the tax, which Viverito did in November, a move that blindsided the village.

According to the Chicago Tribune, 78-year-old Viverito is recommending that the Democratic Central Committee name Steve Landek as his replacement. Landek, the mayor of Bridgeview, is also a powerful figure within Lyons Township politics.

In addition to being Township of Lyons’ Democratic committeeman, Landek was recently named supervisor of the township after the previous supervisor, Russell Hartigan, was appointed Cook County judge.

In 2009, Landek was re-elected highway commissioner of Lyons Township. He was unopposed in that race after working out a deal with then-GOP committeeman Tony Peraica on a bipartisan slate of candidates that avoided a contested election.

Viverito will remain Stickney Township supervisor, a position he’s held since 1973, according to Chapple.

– Bob Uphues

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