Decatur — Rep Bill Mitchell (R) of Decatur joins the growing number of lawmakers who are deciding it’s time to leave. Mitchell today announced he will not seek re-election in 2018.
His announcement brings the number of lawmakers in the House, who are retiring to six, plus one who has already left in June, Rep Emily McAsey (D) of Lockport.
Others House members who have already announced they’ll not run again include Rep Barb Wheeler (R), Rep Patti Bellock (R), Rep Bob Pritchard (R), Rep Chad Hays (R), and Rep Elaine Nekritz (D).
Senator Tim Bivins, of Dixon also announced he’s retiring, and Sen Christine Radogno, who resigned and left the Senate just after the budget override in July.
Capitol observers say they expect more lawmakers will decide to quit, as there’s wide-spread frustration in the legislature, with the constant political infighting between Rauner administration, and the Legislature’s Democratic leaders, which has lead to a host of problems, including a period where lawmakers were unable to draw a paycheck. One lawmaker took to driving part-time for Uber to help make ends meet.
But they say as well, that there’s a general feeling that a lot of time is wasted on political gamesmanship, instead of working on the very real problems that face the state.
After today’s announcement, Joe Alexander, who once worked for former US Congressman Tom Ewing (R), and now works for the US Department of Agriculture in Washington, told the Illinois Channel that he is taking a serious look at running for Mitchell’s seat, although a final decision has not been made. In 2016, Alexander worked on the Trump campaign
Alexander, who is divorced, is originally from Clinton, and the father of two sons, who live in the district. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois.