State Rep. Lance Yednock, D-Ottawa, said Sunday he will not seek reelection in November 2024, but he will serve the remainder of his term.
Yednock has served as a state representative since 2019, besting state Rep. Jerry Long, R-Streator, to take back a 76th District State Representative seat long held by Democrats. He has since defeated Republican challengers Travis Breeden and Jason Haskell in 2020 and 2022, respectively.
“Being the state representative for the 76th District has been one of the greatest privileges and honors of my life,” Yednock said in a statement Sunday. “I will fulfill the rest of my term in the 103rd General Assembly as I feel a very important responsibility to my community to see the job through after being reelected last year.”
“I understand that if I cannot get the legislature to understand how downstate needs resources, then I must admit to myself that a different representative may get a better outcome, and that is far more important to me than a future reelection campaign.”— State Rep. Lance Yednock, D-Ottawa
Yednock said his moderate views at times have made for strained relations in the House Democratic Caucus. For example, Yednock voted against the Democratic majority regarding the SAFE-T Act. He said he has tried to vote the way his district leans.
“At worst, there were times when I felt my moderation had gotten in the way of the advancement of my community,” Yednock said.
He said getting fellow lawmakers to understand the needs of downstate Illinois and obtaining resources through the budget and programs has been one of the most difficult challenges for him.
“While not having the exact same challenges as more urban areas, downstate has plenty of needs and arguably less resources by the nature of geography and population,” Yednock said in a statement. “The example of rural health care is but one example that is always at the forefront of my mind. I understand that if I cannot get the legislature to understand how downstate needs resources, then I must admit to myself that a different representative may get a better outcome, and that is far more important to me than a future reelection campaign.”
Yednock, along with state Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, have worked together as advocates for assisting the state’s process of reopening a hospital in Peru, after hospitals closed in Peru and Spring Valley.
Yednock said the state representative job takes serious attention and time. Yednock is as an operating engineer for the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150. He said he wants to leave on his own terms and make way for the next generation.
“I am a husband and an Operating Engineer, not a politician,” Yednock said. “I threw my hat in the ring back in 2017 because I knew my community needed someone who would stand up for working families. Just before my time in Springfield, we suffered through four long years of the Bruce Rauner administration, and barely survived Rauner’s two-year budget impasse. I believe in a citizen-led legislature and self-imposed term limits. The sacrifices of my family, friends and fellow tradespeople were vast and overwhelming at times, which made me appreciate what elected officials do.”
Yednock still intends to be a voice for his district, he said. He believes there are qualified candidates to step into the position. A Democrat has not announced their intent to run in the district just yet, but Republicans Crystal Loughran and Patrick Feehan have shown interest in running for the 76th District seat.
The boundary lines of the 76th District were redrawn prior to the 2022 election, bringing DeKalb County into the 76th District and removing Putnam County, southern La Salle County and a portion of northern Livingston County.
“Operating heavy machinery and organizing workers to fight for living wages and adequate safety standards is my passion and calling in life, not being a career politician,” Yednock said in his statement. “Going door-to-door year-round for as long as I have has made it clear to me that there are so many constituents, I represent here in the 76th district who currently have that passion which is so necessary for the job. Many qualified, hardworking and passionate people have expressed their desire in the past to run for the seat I hold, which is a real relief for all of us here in the Illinois Valley.
“The next representative must continue the struggle to push for resources for downstate communities, especially in more rural parts of Illinois.”
Yednock said he is proud of advancing the Workers’ Rights Amendment in 2022.
“Now, all Illinois workers finally have the constitution on their side,” Yednock said. “I entered public service because I saw what extreme politicians can do to workers and their families. I will leave public service with my head held high, knowing I was able to play a small role in protecting workers from the next extreme politician looking to reside in the governor’s mansion, whomever that may be.”
He said his goal when he was elected was to be a voice for the working class, its communities, small businesses and to make sure government served all the people. Yednock said he is appreciative of his colleagues and the relationships he has made in Springfield. He said the learning and understanding of issues in the General Assembly have been difficult and enlightening. He believes a fresh face may needed in Springfield for the Illinois Valley.
“I can return to what I love to do and what I know I’m best at; being a husband to my best friend Deana and helping build infrastructure for generations of Illinoisans to enjoy and use,” Yednock concluded.