The proposed new map of Illinois congressional districts, which awaits the governor’s signature and which Republicans say they’re going to challenge in the courts, would significantly change who represents residents in Riverside, North Riverside and Brookfield.
Passed by the Illinois House on May 30 and by the Senate on May 31 along party lines, the proposal would change Riverside and North Riverside’s congressional representation almost completely. Meanwhile, the north end of Brookfield would acquire two new congressmen, while the south end would stay the same.
Much of the area would lose the representation of Democrat Daniel Lipinski, whose 3rd Congressional District would shift southwest and no longer include North Riverside and all but one precinct in Riverside.
As proposed, Lipinski’s 3rd District would fan out to the southwest and include large portions of Lemont, Orland, Homer and Lockport townships. His district currently doesn’t extend west of Palos Township.
As redrawn, Lipinski’s base of support would shift into more conservative-leaning southwest suburbs, which would likely solidify his position in the 3rd District.
Additionally, Lipinski’s district west of Harlem Avenue would not extend north of Lyons Township, meaning he would remain the representative for people living in Lyons Township Precinct 1, which includes the southernmost tip of Riverside and all of Brookfield south of Southview Avenue.
“Having represented Riverside, Brookfield and North Riverside for more than six years, I can only regret the loss of any portion of these outstanding communities, whose hardworking residents and leaders I have been fortunate to get to know and to serve,” said Lipinski in a statement issued Monday to the Landmark.
“In addition, I am glad to report that the redrawn 3rd District still includes much of Brookfield, as well as a small portion of Riverside. I therefore look forward to continuing to represent these communities and their residents to the best of my ability.”
North of the Lyons Township border, things change significantly. The rest of Riverside and much of North Riverside would become part of the 4th District, whose congressman is Democrat Luis Gutierrez.
The 4th District is a U-shaped district that now includes Hispanic-dominated wards on Chicago’s Southwest and Northwest sides as well as part of Cicero. The new 4th District expands Gutierrez’s district to include parts of Berwyn, Riverside, North Riverside, Elmwood Park and a larger slice of the Northwest Side.
Gutierrez’s new district would include most of North Riverside from Harlem Avenue to 13th Avenue. North Riverside west of 13th Avenue and nearly all of the property on south side of Cermak Road west of 2nd Avenue would be part of the 7th District, which is represented by Chicago Democrat Danny Davis. Davis currently represents North Riverside west of First Avenue.
Lipinski and his father, Bill Lipinski, before him have had close relationships with traditionally white ethnic, socially conservative constituents in North Riverside, Riverside and Brookfield.
Bill Lipinski in past years helped Riverside win a $275,000 grant to help restore the village’s historic water tower, while Dan Lipinski’s support was crucial in getting the Canadian National Railway to finally establish a quiet zone through North Riverside and Riverside.
Former North Riverside Mayor Richard Scheck, a Republican, was particularly close with both Lipinski and his father. They also got along well with Riverside GOP Committeeman Judy Baar Topinka and other GOP committeemen in the district, who rarely slated strong candidates against the Lipinskis.
“I guess you just build new relationships,” said North Riverside Village Administrator Guy Belmonte. “Mayor Scheck made those relationships and grew them. Mayor [Ken] Krochmal has been on the board for 14 years with Lipinski being around all that time and had a relationship with him too.
“It’d definitely be a change for us.”
Gutierrez would also pick up nearly all of Brookfield within Proviso Township, except for a one-block sliver (bounded by 26th Street, 26th Place, Maple Avenue and Park Avenue), which would part of Davis’ 7th District. Gutierrez’s district would also include Brookfield Zoo.
Republicans since last year have been raising money to mount a challenge to the redistricting proposal, which was drawn with virtually no public input, by state Democrats, who control both state houses and the governor’s office.
GOP leaders have urged Quinn to veto the proposal and have hinted that a federal lawsuit would be filed to challenge the redistricting plan should it be signed into law.