by Thelma Sardin
On Thursday, west side State Sen. Rickey Hendon (5th Dist.) resigned from the Illinois General Assembly. He held the office for eighteen years and was the youngest African American male ever appointed to serve as Assistant Majority Leader in the Illinois State Senate.
In a letter to Senate President John Cullerton, Hendon said he has enjoyed working in the state legislature.
“Today is a wonderful day and as much as I have enjoyed working with you and all of my fellow senators, I have decided to call it a day and retire from this wonderful institution,” Hendon wrote in the resignation letter.
While Hendon did not give a reason for stepping down, the assistant majority leader wrote he hoped supporters will accept his decision and allow him to move on with his life.
Some reports have hinted that Hendon possibly resigned due to the results of last week’s municipal election calling it a “black political disaster.” Hendon has also been cited as telling FOX Chicago News Political Editor Mike Flannery that his blood pressure soared as he watched the returns come in last Tuesday night.
The 57-year-old Hendon was elected to the 5th District seat in 1993.
Hendon’s name has come up in a federal grand jury investigation of how state money was handed out to various groups.
A number of them report receiving the grants with Hendon’s assistance. But there has been no indication Hendon has been targeted by the investigation.
Hendon’s flamboyant personality earned him the nickname of “Hollywood” among his peers and associates.
He was briefly a candidate in the mayoral race last fall and according to FOX News Chicago was part of the group trying to pick a consensus African-American candidate for the office.
Prior to his Illinois Senate career, Hendon was a Chicago alderman representing the west side’s 27th Ward.
Thelma Sardin, wires