SPRINGFIELD - A longtime Republican lawmaker and former political foe to Gov. Rod Blagojevich is retiring as the governor's director of homeland security.
Blagojevich's office announced Thursday that Carl Hawkinson is stepping down from his post as deputy chief of staff for public safety Dec. 31.
He will be replaced by Jill Morgenthaler, a U.S. Army Reserve colonel who is a manager of the emergency response center at Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago.
"She will pick up where Carl left off, continuing to position Illinois as a national leader in the area of homeland security," Blagojevich said in a statement.
The 58-year-old Hawkinson was Knox County state's attorney for six years before serving four years in the state House and 16 years in the state Senate. He lost a bid for the Supreme Court in 2000. He also ran for lieutenant governor along with Republican governor candidate Jim Ryan in 2002, losing to Democrats Blagojevich and Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn.
His appointment to head the state's homeland security efforts in January 2003 made him one of the highest ranking Republicans in the Democrat administration.
Blagojevich praised Hawkinson's three years of work and accomplishments, which include helping improve security at airports and utilities and helping ensure the state is well prepared for bioterrorism.
Hawkinson said Thursday he decided to step down last spring after spending too much time away from his family in Galesburg. Upon retirement, Hawkinson plans to work part-time for the California-based Naval Postgraduate School on homeland security issues but will remain in Galesburg.
"It's been my privilege to help lead Illinois' homeland security preparations, which, in many respects, is a model for the country," Hawkinson said in a statement.