It has been four months since the passing of our dear friend and trusted elected official Judy Baar Topinka, and yet in a way it is as if it was only last week that we were all awakened with the tragic news.   

Judy was many things to many people, providing immeasurable leadership and guidance to those who sought out her advice. During her lifetime, she affected countless lives – through the policies and programs she instituted and yet also through her personal touch. In addition to serving as our Illinois comptroller, Judy was also the Riverside Township Republican committeeman — a post that she held since first being elected to the position in 1994. 

Committeemen are elected to four year terms by those who pull party ballots during the primaries. When pulling a Republican or Democratic primary ballot, the option is there to vote on the committeeman for the area. 

That being said, Judy was re-elected to the committeeman position in the Republican primary held in March 2014. I humbly accepted the recent appointment from the Cook County Republican Party Chairman Aaron Del Mar, to serve out the remaining three years of her term.

So what is a committeeman? The Republican committeemen of each township in Cook County represent the Republican Party to the people, serving as the primary contact between voters, candidates and elected officials. 

As such, they cast their vote on behalf of these Republicans when voting on official Cook County Republican Party business, selecting replacement candidates for vacancies on the ballot post-primary, electing replacement elected officials when vacancies occur, and other official duties as detailed by the Illinois State Board of Elections and the Cook County Clerk. A committeeman’s vote is weighted based on the number of ballots cast in the most recent Republican primary.

As a deputy committeeman to Judy since 2012, I look forward to the new responsibility, and leading the Republican Party in Riverside Township to new heights. In the months ahead, do not be surprised if you get a knock on your door from me. Although living in North Riverside for most of my 30 years of life, it is my intention to introduce myself and get to know Riverside Township in a way that Judy did. 

Although you never can be sure of what tomorrow may bring, I can assure you that Judy’s legacy of common sense, fiscal accountability, and hard work are standards that our Township governance will strive to carry on.

Mike Dropka

North Riverside