Downstate Democrat leaving state Senate to advise Pritzker on Downstate

The governor’s office issued a statement that state Sen. Andy Manar would be joining the administration as a senior adviser on “downstate economic revitalization, appropriations, and COVID-19 recovery efforts.”

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State Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, speaks at a news conference on education funding at the state Capitol in Springfield in 2016.

State Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, speaks at a news conference on education funding at the state Capitol in Springfield in 2016.

Seth Perlman/AP file

SPRINGFIELD — One of the few remaining downstate Democrats in the state Senate is relinquishing his central Illinois seat to join Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration as a senior adviser on issues affecting residents living outside the Chicago area.

State Sen. Andy Manar of Bunker Hill announced Monday that he will resign from his legislative seat effective Jan. 17, but gave no reason for the move in the statement he released.

A short time later, the governor’s office issued a statement that Manar would be joining the administration as a senior adviser on “downstate economic revitalization, appropriations, and COVID-19 recovery efforts.”

Manar was first elected to represent the 48th District in 2012. He is one of only six downstate Democrats in the current state Senate. Republicans hold 12 downstate state Senate seats.

Manar has served as one of the Democratic Caucus’ point people on education and the budget. He is chairperson of the Senate’s appropriations committee and was an architect behind the state’s “evidence-based” funding model for public education, which was implemented in 2017.

State Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, listens as Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker unveils a new mask awareness campaign in August.

State Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, listens as Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker unveils a new mask awareness campaign in August.

Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register via AP

Manar, 45, is scheduled to assume his new role on Jan. 19.

“Andy has been one of the most thoughtful and successful lawmakers of his generation, and he will be a trusted advisor,” Pritzker said in a statement.

“In his career, Andy has done so much to improve the lives of working families. He led the effort to reform the state’s antiquated education funding formula, made insulin cheaper for the millions who depend upon it, led efforts to reform election laws, and oversaw the appropriations committee during truly challenging times,” the governor said.

“Any one of those accomplishments would be hailed as a career capstone, and Andy has too many to name. I value his insights and look forward to him joining my administration as we overcome this pandemic and rebuild Illinois together.”

Manar did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

He was quoted in the governor’s statement, crediting Pritzker with “tremendous leadership in the most grave crisis this state has experienced in our lifetime.”

“Illinois faces so many challenges, and I look forward to taking on these challenges from the executive branch,” Manar said of his new role.

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