The only Illinois Senate Republican who voted with Democrats to approve a budget package says he did so because “in the end, you vote your district.”

Sen. Dale Righter of Mattoon has represented that district — the 55th — since 2003. Before that, he served in the Illinois House beginning in 1997.

The state representative from his area, Rep. Reggie Phillips, R-Charleston, was among 15 House Republicans who backed the House budget package supported by Speaker Michael Madigan.

After the vote, he posted the following statement on his legislative website:

“I support a balanced budget which includes spending cuts. This state must start balancing its budgets. If this was a Republican-majority legislature, we would see greater reductions in spending, but in a Democrat-majority legislature, this is as good as we can get.

“The most important issue we face right now is the fiscal stability of our state. We need to protect our critical state services and the citizens of Illinois who rely on them. This budget is balanced.”

Righter is the Republican for the Appropriations I Committee, Executive Appointments Committee, and the Assignments Committee. He also serves on the Human Services, Appropriations II, and Veterans Affairs committees.

He’s a Mattoon native to graduated Mattoon High School in 1984, then earned his undergraduate degree in accounting from Eastern Illinois University in 1988 and a law degree from St. Louis University in 1991. He’s a partner at Geisler, Weaver, & Righter, a law firm in Charleston, Ill. and previously worked as a prosecutor.

Contributing: Tina Sfondeles