Edgar Gonzalez

Newly appointed Illinois state Rep. Edgar Gonzalez Jr. (D-Chicago) had to miss last week’s session of the Illinois General Assembly, because he has tested positive for COVID 19.

All legislators got tested before returning to Springfield to resume their session last week, and Gonzalez received word of his positive test result on May 18, just two days before the General Assembly reconvened.

“I was very surprised,” said Gonzalez, who was selected in January to represent the 21st District, which includes the portion of Riverside south of the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad tracks. 

Gonzalez succeeded Celina Villanueva, who left the Illinois House of Representatives when she was selected to fill out the term of former state Sen. Martin Sandoval, who resigned his Senate seat last year and subsequently pleaded guilty to bribery and tax evasion.

“I’ve had sore throats, intermittent headaches, just little bouts of tiredness, but for the most that’s been pretty much it,” Gonzalez said. “Thankfully, this hasn’t hit me too hard, so I’m hoping it stays like that.”

The 23-year-old Gonzalez, who graduated from Harvard a year ago, said he has been staying in his room in the attic of his parent’s Little Village home so as not to infect his parents or his younger sister.

 “I’m staying at home, staying in my attic, so it’s a lot easier to isolate myself from the rest of my family,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez said he is disappointed about having to miss the legislative session.

“I was pretty bummed out,” Gonzalez said. “I really wanted to work with my colleagues and make sure that we pass the best package for all of Illinois, because we have a lot of working families who are really hurting.”

Gonzalez said he wishes he could vote remotely, but that is not allowed under House rules.

“I know we have the technology to do so in some way or another, but that’s up to them to say,” Gonzalez said.

The rookie state rep said that he knows of no other COVID-19 cases on his block in Chicago, but added that his Little Village neighborhood has been hit hard by the virus. According to a database maintained by the Chicago Reporter, as of late last week nearly 2,500 people had tested positive for COVID-19 within the Chicago ZIP code where Gonzalez lives.