SPRINGFIELD -- Illinois Commerce Commission Chairman Richard Mathias has informed Governor George H. Ryan of his intention to step down from the ICC September 1, 2002.
Gov. Ryan accepted Mathias’ resignation and said the September 1st effective date will allow for time to handle several important issues before the commission and allow for a smooth transition.
“Rich Mathias has served with distinction as chairman of the ICC and has had a long career of leadership and accomplishments in the public and private sectors,” Gov. Ryan said. “I want to commend him for his efforts, particularly his fair and even-handed managing of the difficult, complex issues before the commission.”
Gov. Ryan is nominating Kevin Wright, 45, his deputy chief of staff, to succeed Mathias in the post. Wright was the Ryan administration’s point person in negotiating the HMO Reform and the Patient’s Bill of Rights package successfully enacted in 1999. Wright also led successful efforts to develop a plan for the Teacher’s Retirement Insurance Program and legislation to address a major agricultural issue, mega-hog farm siting. Wright also oversaw Governor Ryan’s administrative team that participated in negotiating the successful package rewriting the state’s telecommunications laws in addition to handling numerous other management responsibilities.
“For the past four years I have been privileged to serve as Chairman and a member of the Illinois Commerce Commission,” Chairman Mathias said in his letter to Governor Ryan. “As I have said to you personally on several prior occassions, you and your staff have been very supportive of me and the Commission, and I am most appreciative.”
Wright served as deputy chief of staff and director of legislative affairs in the Secretary of State’s Office from 1994-1998. He also served as director of the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation under Gov. James R. Thompson, as well as assignments in the Governor’s legislative office. He is a 1979 graduate of Southern Illinois University and earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s prestigious Kennedy School of Government in 1988. He also earned a certificate from the executive program of the Duke University School of Public Policy.
Mathias, 63, of Winnetka was appointed chairman by Gov. James Edgar in May, 1998 filling the remainder of the five-year term previously held by former chairman Dan Miller. He was president, executive vice-president or general counsel of various financial service companies located in Chicago, New York and Seattle. He also practiced law with a Chicago law firm and is admitted to practice law in Illinois and California. Mathias also served as director of the Illinois Department of Insurance from 1977 to 1979 and as a deputy legal counsel to then Governor Richard Ogilvie from 1969 to 1972.
Wright’s nomination requires the approval of the Illinois Senate.