Appointee to District 75 State House seat brings youth, energy, drive to table
After interviewing eight applicants earlier this month, District 75 GOP officials said that they unanimously selected Grundy County Board Chairman David Welter, a Morris resident, to take over as the district's state representative.
The 75th District covers Grundy, Will, Kendall and LaSalle counties.
The previous representative, John Anthony, resigned his office in mid-June to take a position at the Illinois Department of Corrections.
The GOP officials who selected Welter included Republican Chairman Aren Hansen (Grundy County), Republican Chairwoman Kathy Havel (Will County), Republican Chairman James Marter (Kendall County) and Republican Chairman Don Jensen (LaSalle County).
“This was a challenging decision for the committee because of the depth of talent of all the applicants,” Hansen said in a statement. “While we are all going to miss John Anthony, we have no doubt that David Welter will continue his efforts in Springfield and represent the constituents of the 75th District with integrity and zeal.”
Initially, Anthony was not happy with the district’s decision because he was left out of the selection process.
“I am not happy that I was not even allowed or told about my replacement meeting,” Anthony said in a tweet on July 9. “I had no say, not even from my county chairman.”
Welter said he was honored to be chosen to represent the district.
"I want to thank the chairmen for a thorough and open process," Welter said. "The real work starts now. I look forward to representing all of the 75th District, and I can't wait to get out and meet the people of the district."
Welter served on the Grundy County Board since age 19 and was appointed Grundy County chairman at the end of December 2014 until the present.
Welter said that as a senior in high school, he planned to go to a four-year college, and saw what was going on around him. What he witnessed most was out-of-control government spending. Welter began attending committee meetings and immersing himself in what was going on in his state.
When Welter mentioned his ambitions to some people, they suggested he start out by running for school board, but he went for a county seat instead, and he won it.
“Being young can be a challenge, (but I) went all over and heard from (constituents),” Welter said. “I wrapped it up in a message and was successful.”
Welter said some people tried to discredit him because of his age, but he was persistent, showed up and did the research.
“A lot of people, as I (went) door to door, I found were middle class, and I see our values aligned,” Welter said.
Welter said his discussions with people, and understanding their interests and values helped shape his message so far and what he would like to achieve while in office.
“I was able to articulate well and get others — sometimes — to see my point of view,” Welter said. “As a result, I earned respect of colleagues and was elected board chair.”
With regard to younger residents getting involvement in politics, Welter believes it is important to be informed.
“It’s not a bad thing (for the younger generation to get involved and be informed) — the decisions made today in Springfield and Washington will impact us a lot longer than (older generations),” Welter said.
Welter will serve out the remainder or Anthony’s term, which ends in January, and focus on the 75th District’s responsibilities, rather than look too far past the office in which he has been appointed. Welter also will defend his seat in the November general election against Democrat Martha Shugart.
Welter said there is an obvious campaign component, but he is eager to get his message out and get more input from the people in his district. Welter wants to focus on where he is at now, and he plans on staying for a while.
Welter’s official swearing in will be announced in the coming days, and his contact information will be made available afterward.
As for his strengths, Welter considers his open-mindedness, and willingness to examine every process and to compromise to be some of his strengths, along with his unwillingness to compromise on values.
“I am extremely impressed by the level of experience, professionalism and accomplishments that Mr. Welter has packed into his six years in public service," Kendall County Republican Chairman James Marter recently said. "David’s passion, youth and energy will be an asset to the residents of the 75th District.”