Mike Zalewski | Jerry Nowicki

Former state Rep. Mike Zalewski is now officially a lobbyist. The Taft, Stettinius & Hollister LLP law firm and Zalewski announced June 20 that the Riverside resident will lead the Chicago and Illinois lobbying arm of the law firm. 

Zalewski had previously has been of-counsel with Taft, a large law firm. Zalewski will lead the firm’s Public Affairs Strategy Group in Chicago and Illinois. The Public Affairs Strategy Group is part of Taft Advisors, an affiliate of the law firm. 

Rich Miller first reported Zalewski’s new gig in his Capitol Fax newsletter.

“Mike is a natural fit to lead this group and formalize our prior lobbying efforts to serve our Illinois clients,” said Cezar Froelich, chairman of Taft’s Chicago office in a statement posted on the firm’s website.

Zalewski, who served in the Illinois General Assembly from 2009 until January of this year, was defeated by Abdelnasser Rashid in the June 2022 Democratic primary. 

The announcement by Taft and Zalewski comes just days after his wife, Carrie Zalewski, presided over her last meeting as the chairwoman of the Illinois Commerce Commission. Carrie Zalewski also resigned from her position on the commission. State commission members cannot serve if they are married to a registered lobbyist. 

Mike Zalewski posted on Facebook about his new job.

“It’s been about a year of introspection and self-reflection since the primary,” Zalewski wrote. “I’ve been blessed with fellowship and love that carried me through heartbreak and loss, followed by a period of excitement and anticipation. Thank you to everyone who’s been a true friend.”

According to Capitol Fax, Taft lobbies for a large number of gambling companies. While in the state legislature, Zalewski was a major force behind the legislation that legalized sports betting in Illinois.

In his Facebook post, Zalewski said he is glad that he took some time off after leaving office in early January.

“I’m really glad I took a step back,” Zalewski wrote. “Public officials should take a step back from service after their term ends: not because they can’t be trusted to immediately, and negatively, affect government from the private sector, but because it’s healthy and restorative. But I love the legislative process. I love the people. My former colleagues. Staff. And everyone who tried to do good things to help. There’s a cynicism about Illinois that’s built up over time and there shouldn’t be. Government can still do big things to help the least among us. 

“I’m thankful for an amazing spouse, great kids and family and friends who supported me during this journey.