Wynn Bence to leave Iroquois County Board for Capitol job
Veteran Iroquois County Board member Susan Wynn Bence, of Watseka, announced Tuesday that she will be leaving the board to become top staff member of Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti in Springfield.
Wynn Bence also is resigning as chief of staff for new state Rep. Tom Bennett, R-Gibson City, after serving in the same role for former Rep. Josh Harms, of Watseka, for two years. Harms quit after one term.
Wynn Bence said she will work as director of legislative and rural affairs for Sanguinetti and has been told she will manage the Springfield office.
She will work in the Capitol building during the week, so she would be unable to continue on the county board.
In addition to serving as chief executive in the governor’s absence from the state or as governor if a vacancy occurs, the lieutenant governor has four areas of responsibility — rural affairs, rivers and streams, military bases and the the Main Street community development program, Wynn Bence said.
The legislative affairs role will involve “keeping an eye on legislation and reporting back to the lieutenant governor,” she said.
She announced her resignation effective April 30 after 10 1/2 years and said she prays that County Board Chairman Kyle Anderson and Republican Party County Chairman Shane Cultra “see the importance of finding a replacement that is like-minded and willing to go the extra mile.”
Wynn Bence had served as chair of the board’s judicial and public safety committee under former board chairman Ron Schroeder, but has been in the board minority in recent years, although all board members are Republicans. Two years ago, then-chairman Rod Copas replaced her as committee chairman and as the board’s representative on the board of the troubled Ford-Iroquois Public Health Department.
She said that 12 years ago, Schroeder made a comment about salaries for probation department professionals “that ruffled my feathers enough to want to get involved in politics and make a run for the Iroquois County Board.”
However, on Tuesday, she listed Schroeder, who retired in 2012, among her county board mentors. “Even though Ron Schroeder and I did not always agree, we both had one thing in common, the citizens of Iroquois County. I am proud to call him my friend.”
Meanwhile, Raymond Guttendorf, of Gilman, will become Bennett’s district staff member in the Watseka office.
Guttendorf, 22, and a 2014 communications program graduate of Eastern Illinois University, has been an intern on Bennett’s staff for three months. He is the son of Ray and Cindy Guttendorf, of Gilman.