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Pritzker names second Veterans Affairs director in 2 weeks

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VA Director


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Gov. J.B. Pritzker has appointed a state lawmaker as director of the state’s Veterans Affairs department after his first choice stepped down.

The Democrat on Friday named state Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia. The former Army officer was named in place of Army Lt. Col. Jaime Martinez.

Pritzker tabbed Martinez for the job Jan. 31. The governor’s office did not say why Martinez withdrew from consideration.

The 52-year-old Chapa LaVia joined the House of Representatives in 2003. She was the first Latina outside Chicago to be elected.

Since 2009 she has been House Veterans Affairs Committee chairwoman. She was a vocal critic of former Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration for the way it handled a deadly Legionnaire’s disease crisis at the Quincy Veterans’ home.

LaVia’s appointment must be confirmed by the Senate.


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