By DEBORAH GERTZ HUSAR
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
JACKSONVILLE, Ill. -- C.D. Davidsmeyer of Jacksonville has been appointed to replace Rep. Jim Watson and fill the remainder of the term of the 97th District.
Davidsmeyer and Pike County Board Chairman Andy Borrowman were among six applicants interviewed Sunday in Jacksonville by Republican county chairman from the district served by Watson, who resigned Dec. 3 to become executive director of the Illinois Petroleum Council.
Morgan County Republican Chairman Steve Hardin, who chaired Sunday's meeting, said Davidsmeyer brings a business background, an understanding of legislative issues and, thanks to serving on the staff of U.S. Rep. John Shimkus in Washington, D.C., insight into running a legislative office.
"He's got the experience and potential, I think, to be another really good state representative, following in Rep. Watson's footsteps," Hardin said. "We had several really good candidates and a really good in-depth discussion. It was a difficult decision."
Davidsmeyer will be sworn in this week to the 97th District. On Jan. 9, he will be sworn in for a two-year term for the new 100th District.
Borrowman said he looks forward to meeting and working with Davidsmeyer.
"I walked into the room a Republican. I walked out a Republican. I said I would honor the decision and move forward. If it wasn't me, I would work with the representative in Pike County the best way I can," Borrowman said. "I still feel that way."
Borrowman said his interview with the county chairman lasted a little over 20 minutes and included questions on issues ranging from campaign finance to giving driver's licenses to illegal aliens.
"It was a very good learning experience, a good way to at least show the other counties what Pike County has," Borrowman said. "The support that I got all over Pike County was wonderful. People stopped you in the grocery store, even in church (Sunday) morning. It was so overwhelming."
Pike County Republican Chairman Robert Browning said Borrowman did well in the interview and "made it to the finals" of the selection process.
"I'm very proud of him," Browning said.
Davidsmeyer, a Jacksonville native, is vice president and operations manager at IRC, Inc., a longtime family-owned business in Jacksonville. He has served as 4th Ward alderman on the Jacksonville City Council since being appointed to fill a vacancy in February 2008 and was elected to a full term in 2009. He chairs the council's finance committee.
The vacancy committee reviewed 13 applications received by the Nov. 28 deadline to replace Watson. Six were chosen to be interviewed. Others interviewed Sunday were:
º Debra Helton, a speech language pathologist from rural Carrollton;
º William Hardin, a retired postmaster from rural Carlinville and a long-time member of the Macoupin County Board;
º Luke lamb, a Greene County Board member from Greenfield; and
º Doug Coop, International Partnership Specialist GS12, Department of Defense and director of the state partnership program, Illinois Army National Guard from rural Jacksonville.
Borrowman will continue serving on the County Board where he was just elected to a second four-year term on the board and re-elected as chairman.
"In a way, it's a relief it's over. I'm not as disappointed as I thought I might be," Borrowman said. "I still feel the process works, the best candidate was chosen, and we will move forward with Rep. Davidsmeyer."