Metro-East News

Bill Haine says he won’t seek another term as state senator

State Sen. Bill Haine, D-Alton, will not run for another term in Springfield, the legislator announced Wednesday.

“It has been my honor to represent the people of the metro-east region,” Haine said. “They are my neighbors, my friends, the people of the communities of my life. I have always tried my best to serve them, and I hope I have done a good job.”

Haine, 73, did say he plans to serve out the rest of his term, which runs through 2018.

“The good Lord gives us a finite amount of time on this Earth,” Haine said. “I believe the time has come for me to find a new adventure and for someone else to take up the challenge and honor of serving the people in the Illinois Senate.”

Earlier this year, Haine was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer. Medical treatments have kept Haine away from Springfield for most of the legislative session, though he recently returned to vote to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s budget and income tax hike vetoes. He also voted to override the governor’s veto on Senate Bill 1, which overhauls the state’s school funding formula.

Haine said he’s not complaining about his cancer diagnosis because he saw people in worse condition during his hospitalization. He’s been through chemotherapy and stem cell treatment, and he carries a heart monitor. He’s now in remission.

“It put an exclamation point on the need to move on to another life,” Haine said.

In an interview in his Alton home, Haine said the cancer diagnosis was not why he decided not to run again. He had made the decision last year, in order to spend time with his extended family.

Haine and his wife, Anna, have seven children, and 32 grandchildren, with another grandchild on the way. Their future plans include spending more time with all of them.

“It’s time to visit them. They’re scattered all over the country,” Haine said. “We love to hit the road and do the grandparents circuit, as I call it, and visit all the families and sponge off of them for a while.”

He was elected to the Illinois Senate in 2002. He also has served on the Madison County Board and as Madison County state’s attorney for 14 years.

He is the senator for the 56th Senate district, which covers most of Madison County — including Alton, Wood River and Edwardsville — and stretches south to Interstate 64 to include parts of O’Fallon.

By December of next year, Haine will have spent 40 years in elected office.

During his time in the state Senate, Haine helped pass a plan to update and fix the levee system in the metro-east, obtained money to expand Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and Interstate 255, and helped craft the state’s medical marijuana law. He’s also proud of the work to judiciary committees in the state Senate.

The Vietnam War veteran said he’s also proud of his work as Madison County state’s attorney and the improvements made in the office, as well as his work for the Madison County Transit District.

“I’ve had a rewarding public life,” Haine said. “People may not agree with every position I’ve taken either in the Senate, as state’s attorney or on the county board, but I was a productive hardworking elected official.”

Joseph Bustos: 618-239-2451, @JoeBReporter