CRYSTAL LAKE – State Rep. Barbara Wheeler, R-Crystal Lake, announced Friday she will not seek re-election to the Illinois House in 2018.
Wheeler said her decision was based on a combination of stress from pushing for reforms in Springfield and the loss of her mother, Marita Salvi, who died in December just before her 85th birthday.
Wheeler said her mother, who had 40 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren, was a supportive, matriarchal fixture in the Wheeler home for her three high school daughters while she and her husband were working. Without her mother, Wheeler said it has grown difficult being away from her children.
“It really became not only a professional decision but a personal decision, and without that support at home for my kids, the whole thing seemed like a colossal waste of time,” Wheeler said of being a representative. “My No. 1 priority is my family.”
Wheeler, a retired school teacher from Crystal Lake, is a fiscal conservative who was elected in 2012 to serve the 64th District, which includes parts of McHenry and Lake counties. The district runs north from Crystal Lake up through the Chain O' Lakes to the Wisconsin border and includes all or parts of Bull Valley, Spring Grove, Wonder Lake, Johnsburg, Lake Villa and Lindenhurst.
During the state's budget crisis, Wheeler was opposed to the House voting to increase taxes and called out her Republican colleagues for voting with Democrats in what she described as an act of betrayal.
“Unfortunately, the status quo continues in Springfield, where even simple reforms, such as term limits and fair redistricting, have not been successful,” Wheeler said in a statement. “In order to break Springfield of this pattern, a younger generation of leaders is needed in the General Assembly. For that reason, I have decided I will not seek another term in the Illinois House of Representatives.”
Wheeler said she has not given much thought to plans after her term, but she promises to continue fighting in Springfield on behalf of her constituents.
“I will vigorously use my remaining time to serve the residents of District 64 in the next spring session and fight the anti-taxpayer agenda being pushed in Springfield,” Wheeler said.