Patrick Joyce

Kankakee County farmer Patrick Joyce speaks before a committee of area Democratic leaders Friday night at Kankakee Community College. He was selected as state senator.

KANKAKEE — The son of the late former Sen. Jerry Joyce is the new senator for the 40th Senate District.

On Friday night, Patrick Joyce of Kankakee County’s Essex was chosen by a committee of five area Democratic leaders to fill the seat left vacant by Toi Hutchinson, D-Olympia Fields. She resigned last weekend to take a job in Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration.

The other candidates were Chicago Heights City Clerk Lori Wilcox, Momence’s Marta Perales and Monica Gordon, executive director of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Foundation.

At a public meeting at Kankakee Community College, all four candidates spoke before the committee and took questions. Then the committee members, including Kankakee County Democratic Chairman John Willard, deliberated in private for 40 minutes before announcing their choice.

During questioning, Perales and Gordon pledged to run in the Democratic primary in March regardless of who the committee picked. Wilcox said afterward she had not decided yet.

Joyce promised to build relationships with residents in the northern part of the 40th Senate District. His father, Jerry, a 17-year state senator, died in June.

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