State Rep. Mike Halpin, D-Rock Island, has announced his candidacy for the 36th District state Senate seat.
Current state Sen. Neil Anderson, R-Andalusia, was drawn out of the district during the state legislative remapping process, leaving the seat open for the 2022 election.
Halpin was elected state Representative for the 72nd District in 2016 and reelected in 2018 and 2020. He was elected Rock Island County Democratic Party Chairman in May, taking over from departing Chairman Derek Jones.
"I've been in the House of Representatives for five years, and I've been able to get a lot of good work done for the people here in the Quad-Cities," Halpin said. "But I know there are other areas here in western Illinois that believe strongly the way I believe, but don't necessarily have adequate representation for those views in Springfield.
"Running for Senate is an opportunity for me to continue to represent people in western Illinois that are asking for help and asking for policies that are going to lift up them and their families."
As a state Representative, Halpin said he currently speaks for about 100,000 people in the Quad-Cities at the statehouse. If elected to the Senate, he can expand that representation to more than 200,000 residents.
"I think there are folks in Galesburg, Macomb, Monmouth and some of the rural areas in between that would like to have different representation for Democratic values; people fighting for the working poor and the working class, fighting for small businesses and against big corporations," he said. "I think they would benefit from having a representative in Springfield who represents those values."
Halpin grew up in Voorheesville, N.Y., with his parents and two siblings. He graduated from Roger Williams University in Rhode Island with a bachelor of arts degree in political science and moved to Illinois after being hired by Congressman Lane Evans as a staff assistant and scheduler. He went on to graduate with his law degree from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
Halpin lives in Rock Island with his wife, MaryAnn and their two children, ages 10 and 7. He is an attorney with the Rock Island law firm of McCarthy, Callas, & Feeney, P.C., where he practices municipal, real estate, labor and employment law.
If elected, Halpin said one of his priorities will be to pass a budget consistently. Before his 2016 election, Halpin said the state went almost three years without a working budget during Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration.
"Since I've been elected, we've passed a budget every year," he said. "It seems like a very low bar, but I think it's important to individuals and businesses that we have that kind of stability in state government. My first priority is getting a budget passed so people can start planning ahead."
One focus will be a bill he introduced in partnership with Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza "to provide for payments to increase our rainy day fund" for downturns in the economy when revenue is down. The legislation, House Bill 4118, was originally filed by Halpin in 2019 but was put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Unless other Republicans jump in the race, Glen Evans is set to challenge Halpin in the Nov. 8, 2022, general election for state Senate. It would be the third time the two candidates have faced off for the same seat. Halpin twice defeated Evans for state Representative in the 2018 and 2020 elections.
"I'm looking forward to helping constituents throughout western Illinois navigate what can be a difficult state system in getting benefits, obtaining driver's licenses and Medicaid applications," Halpin said. "I'm just going to redouble my efforts to make sure we can help as many people in the District as possible."