Chicago alderman new Ill. commerce commission head

AP News
Posted: Jan 04, 2010 5:31 PM

Gov. Pat Quinn on Monday named Chicago Alderman Manny Flores as the new chairman of the Illinois Commerce Commission, saying Flores will focus on green initiatives and expanding broadband Internet access.

Quinn said he chose Flores because he is diligent, works hard and has a strong voice for consumers. The ICC determines utility rates in Illinois.

"We need somebody who has foresight, who has vision, who has energy, who has enthusiasm for the green way of thinking and a green way of acting in the state of Illinois," Quinn said at a news conference announcing the appointment.

Flores was elected to the Chicago City Council from the city's 1st Ward in 2003. He is an attorney and a member of the council's committee for Energy, Environmental Protection and Public Utilities. He also is on the Illinois Broadband Deployment Council.

Flores' five-year appointment must be confirmed by the Illinois Senate. Flores called his appointment a "new challenge" and said he was humbled and honored.

"The state of Illinois has to be a leader," Flores said. "It has to be a 21st century state."

Flores replaces chairman Charles Box, who was appointed by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich effective in January 2006. Box's term expired in January 2009, but he has continued to serve until Quinn made an appointment. Box is the former mayor of Rockford.

The consumer advocacy group Citizens Utility Board called Flores' appointment "good news."

"He has made consumer issues a top priority, and has been a strong supporter of renewable energy and energy-efficiency initiatives that are key to controlling turbulent energy prices," executive director David Kolata said in a statement.