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Sen. Haine announces retirement

Wednesday, Aug 16, 2017

* I told subscribers about this earlier today, along with who is most likely to run for his seat…

Fifty years ago, fresh out of Saint Louis University, Bill Haine enlisted in the Army and went to war in Vietnam.

It was the first step in a lifetime of public service that would include a Bronze Star for combat service as a member of the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) in Vietnam from 1967 to 1969, election to the Madison County Board, 14 years as Madison County State’s Attorney and service in the Illinois Senate since 2002.

On Wednesday, Haine announced his career in elected office will come to an end and that he will not seek another term in the Illinois Senate.

“It has been my honor to represent the people of the Metro East region. 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,” said Haine, who was born in Alton and lives around the corner from his boyhood home.

“The good Lord gives us a finite amount of time on this Earth. 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,” said Haine. He intends to serve out his current term.

Earlier this year, Haine, 73, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer. A regimen of medical treatments kept him away from the Capitol for most of the legislative session, though he recently returned to cast deciding votes on a balanced budget and override the governor’s rejection of a historic school funding overhaul.

Haine’s tenure in Springfield has been marked by practical politics rather than political agendas.

His focus has at times been big.

He was the legislative architect of a sweeping plan to modernize the levee system in the Metro East region, an effort that has helped protect homes and businesses from damage in recent years’ flooding.

He helped win state investment in maintaining and expanding the Edwardsville campus of Southern Illinois University and other key infrastructure such as I-255. He similarly led successful efforts to approve a Constitutional Amendment protecting the state’s Road Fund from being raided for non-transportation related spending.

He drew upon his distinguished, award-winning law enforcement background from his time as Madison County State’s Attorney to sponsor, negotiate and win approval of the state’s medical marijuana law that balanced compassionate use with stringent standards and regulations.

Proving he wasn’t afraid to think outside the box, Haine raised political eyebrows when, just a few years after taking office, he sponsored and helped pass medical malpractice litigation reforms opposed by some of his staunchest allies. Those reforms were later thrown out by courts, but Haine credits the effort with helping change the tenor of the legal practice in this area.

At the same time, Haine kept an eye out for injustice at any level.

In response to media reports of motorists being ripped off and forced to pay outrageous amounts of up to $500 to have towed vehicles released from impound lots, Haine sponsored and passed a consumer protection law to limit those charges and end abuses.

To protect jobs at the US Steel plant in Granite City, Haine rallied the Illinois Senate to protest China’s dumping of low quality, cheap steel into the U.S. market. He called on the president and Congress to rewrite national tariff policy on steel goods in order to protect American jobs.

“I’ve never forgotten that it’s the people who sent me to Springfield to represent and fight for them,” Haine said.

A true historian, Haine often sprinkles legislative debates with rhetorical lessons and anecdotes from the works of Roman emperors, a litany of popes spanning civilized history and the founding fathers.

Despite his many awards and accomplishments, Haine considers the crowning achievement of his life to be his marriage to his wife Anna, whom he met in college, and the family they have built.

Bill and Anna Haine have seven children and, at press time, 32 grandchildren. Haine’s future plans include spending more time with all of them.

He’s a heck of a man. This place won’t be the same without him.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Red fish blue fish - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 10:38 am:

    “… at press time, 32 grandchildren. Haine’s future plans include spending more time with all of them.”

    That’s beautiful. He leaves big shoes to be filled

  2. - BC - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 10:56 am:

    An absolute giant. Kind, smart, loyal, honest, politically savvy, and a great sense of humor. A war hero (who almost never talked about it) and statesman in the classic sense.

    No replacing this guy.

  3. - illini - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 10:58 am:

    One of the truly good guys.

    I am proud to say that I got to know him well before his rise in those elective offices he held.

    He will be missed.

  4. - Steve Brown - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 11:02 am:

    Sen. Haine is a very solid guy. Prayers from our family that he gets all the grandchild time he wants going forward.

  5. - A guy - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 11:03 am:

    He’s what they should all aspire to be. Best of luck with beating your illness and enjoying many years of retirement with all of those grandchildren sir. And thank you for a lifetime of service.

  6. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 11:22 am:

    “Here stands a man…”

  7. - NoGifts - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 11:33 am:

    Again, another argument against term limits.

  8. - JoanP - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 11:34 am:

    “. . . at press time, 32 grandchildren.” Another on the way, that sounds like. I sure hope he’ll beat the myeloma so he has plenty of time to spend with them.

    I always appreciate legislators who care more about the needs of their constituents than somebody’s agenda. We need more.

  9. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 11:37 am:

    NoGifts, the same thought crossed my mind. Having cancer at 73 is a good reason to step down. But how many good people would would be forced to step down based on some abstract number of years?

  10. - Just Curious - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 11:42 am:

    One of the Best in the Senate. He will be missed. Thank you for your service to our country, our State of Illinois and your constituents.

  11. - Lobo - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 11:48 am:

    He’s a top notch gentleman who will be sorely missed.

  12. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 1:28 pm:

    Class guy.

  13. - Leave a Light on George - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 2:23 pm:

    I know the Madison County State’s Attorney’s office took a step back when he left office.

  14. - MHS - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 4:06 pm:

    Class Act all the way around.

  15. - Jeff Schoenberg - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 5:11 pm:

    I was fortunate to sit in the row in front of Bill Haine on the Senate floor for ten years and relished those historical references and quotes sprinkled in his floor remarks. Charles de Gaulle’s “The graveyards are filled with indispensable men,”was a particular favorite. One could definitely see how he was a skilled prosecutor. But more importantly, Bill also has shown throughout the years that he is a true patriot who loves his country and relishes the opportunity to serve. Even when we strongly disagreed I couldn’t help but admire him, and it wasn’t uncommon to turn around and see Anna seated beside him @ his Senate desk taking it all in. Bill, thank you for your selfless service these many years.

  16. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 5:39 pm:

    I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Sen. Haine for his years of service, not only to this state, but as a veteran during Vietnam and that service to our country.

    The big projects and the service in our courts as a prosecutor, his commitment to higher education, and being a member on the Senate that spoke with poetic sharpness and rhetorical flair, Sen. Haine used his oratory skills to lead and be a voice for things close to home and far reaching beyond his district that shaped thinking.

    I wish him well, and I hope he enjoys his time with his family.

    Thank you, Sen. Haine, you made a difference.

  17. - Mittuns - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 9:20 pm:

    Thank you Senator Haine for your service and guidance. A true, honest voice of moderation and reason.

  18. - Anonymous - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 2:57 am:

    I’m happy for you and for your family that you will now stand at ease. Blessings upon you and yours.
    Thank you for your life time of service.

  19. - cc - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 2:58 am:

    2:57am post.

  20. - NorthsideNoMore - Thursday, Aug 17, 17 @ 9:32 am:

    A true gentlemen in the GA and a great public servant.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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