Dixon council member sets sights on Illinois Senate seat

Council member Chris Bishop declares candidacy for Illinois’ 37th Senate District seat

Dixon city councilman Chris Bishop announces his candidacy for Illinois State Senator Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023 at Presidents Park in Dixon.

DIXON – A Dixon City Council member has announced that he is running to represent the Illinois Senate district that includes all of Whiteside and Lee counties and portions of Ogle County.

Council member Chris Bishop declared his candidacy for the 37th Senate District seat Wednesday in front of the Abraham Lincoln statue on Dixon’s Lincoln Statue Drive, noting that he will seek the Republican nomination for the seat held by outgoing state Sen. Winn Stoller, R-Germantown Hills.

“I ask for your support during this election not as someone that promises he can fix all of the state’s problems but rather as a candidate that can be a voice of sound judgment,” Bishop said.

Bishop, serving his second City Council term, said he made his decision to run about a week ago and said it is based on what he has learned during his time on the council.

“I entered politics shortly after the city of Dixon faced the largest municipal fraud case in U.S. history,” he said, adding that the city instituted a change of government and hired Dixon’s first city manager during his first term. “I’ve worked with the council to support our economic partnerships that have spurred growth and expansion in our industrial, retail and housing sectors. We have focused on building and maintaining infrastructure with plans to continue into the future. We have maintained a balanced budget and bonded our police and fire pensions to protect the city’s financial future.”

Bishop said the city’s growth and stability have been fostered by a common-sense approach and a belief that it can be done.

“That common-sense approach is what I would like to bring back to Springfield,” he said.

A former Dixon teacher who now is employed in the grain marketing and crop insurance industry, Bishop said he would work to get schools the resources they need and limit the red tape that stands in their way.

He said he also would give first responders the tools they need and protect their ability to perform their services; work toward making Illinois more pro-business to attract, promote and support businesses in Illinois; and work to bring financial stability to the state.

The bulk of the 37th Senate District includes all of Whiteside and Lee counties, most of Bureau County, along with portions of DeKalb, Ogle, Rock Island and La Salle counties.

Stoller, who was first elected in 2020 and won reelection in 2022, announced two weeks ago that he will not seek a third term. He will leave the Senate at the conclusion of his second term, which expires in January 2025.

Candidates could begin circulating nomination petitions Sept. 5. Candidates must file nomination papers between Nov. 27 and Dec. 4 to be a general primary candidate. The primary election will be March 19.

Charlene Bielema

Charlene Bielema

Charlene Bielema is the editor of Sauk Valley Media.