State Sen. Bill Haine, D-Alton, has been chosen to lead the Senate's downstate Democratic caucus.
The caucus is a group of 11 senators from downstate districts who meet regularly to discuss policy positions and issues affecting their districts, as well as to coordinate their votes.
Downstate Democrats are typically more conservative than their Chicago-area counterparts, particularly on social issues.
"I'm honored to be chosen by my colleagues to lead our caucus," Haine said. "We each have unique perspectives to offer -- representing large portions of the state -- but we share many viewpoints on many important social and fiscal issues. When we downstate Democrats work together, we can represent our constituents better than when we work by ourselves."
The 11 downstate Democrats make up 27.5 percent of the overall Democratic caucus. Other formal caucuses within the Democrats are the black, Latino and DuPage County caucuses.
Democrats control both the Senate and the House.