State Sen. Dale Righter, R-Mattoon, announced he will not be seeking re-election to the 55th District seat he has held since 2003.
"Words can not adequately describe the immeasurable blessing that serving the citizens of east-central and southeastern Illinois has always been," Righter said. "Each day, whether in the Capitol or back home in the district, is a privilege. But after much thought and prayer, I've decided it's time for this chapter of my public service to conclude."
Righter also voted against a fiscal year 2020 operating budget which funds a 2.4 percent cost of living increase for members of the General Assembly.
"I voted 'no' on an operating budget that relies on new taxes and provides for pay raise for state lawmakers," Righter said.
"It could not be more unethical for legislators to demand even more from the pocketbooks of our taxpayers just to turn around and put it in their own pockets," he added.
In September 1997, Righter was appointed to represent the 106th district in the Illinois House of Representatives after Mike Weaver resigned to accept an appointment to the Illinois Industrial Commission (since renamed the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission). In 2001, he announced he was running for state senate in the newly created 55th district which included Lawrence, Crawford, Clark, Cumberland, Edgar, Coles, Douglas and Piatt counties as well as parts of Champaign, Effingham, Shelby and Wabash counties.
During his time in the Illinois General Assembly, Righter spearheaded legislative initiatives on a wide variety of issues, including economic development, school funding, health care and governmental accountability.
Additionally, he sponsored legislation expanding newborn screening in Illinois to better utilize current medical advances for the health of infants and their families; measures to expand the Freedom of Information Act so taxpayers better know how their tax dollars are spent; and laws promoting the use of ethanol and other renewable fuels.
He intends to serve out the remainder of his term, which expires in January of 2021.
"My heartfelt thanks to the voters who have placed their collective trust in me and the values I have brought to the Capitol each legislative session," Righter said. "I will always cherish the opportunity with which I have been graced."
Righter, a native of Mattoon, has two sons. Jonathan, a lieutenant in the United States Army, and Benjamin, who will soon begin his final year as an Aerospace Engineering student at Iowa State University.