* The word’s been going around all day that Sen. James Clayborne (D-Belleville) would announce his retirement today. He just now called me back to confirm. He was up for reelection next year.
“I’ve been doing this for 22 and a half years,” Clayborne said when I asked him why he was leaving at the end of this term. Plus, he said, the next term would be for four years. “I never planned on being here 28 years.”
He said it was simply time to “step aside and allow someone to come in.”
“I’ve made a lot of progress and benefited my district and it’s time to move on to the next chapter in my life,” he said.
Asked whether he had a replacement in mind, Clayborne denied it, saying he’s “working to help the party find someone.” But I’m told he may indeed have a preferred candidate.
* Press release…
“I want to thank my constituents over the years for allowing me to serve them in Springfield. In collaboration with my constituents we have worked together to improve the quality of life in the 57th Senatorial District by increasing education funding, building new schools and improving access to technology in the classroom.
“Additionally, we have worked together to provide greater resources through grants to our local police and fire departments to improve public safety. Our hard work has led to an improved transportation system and increased economic opportunities for all.
“I have decided that I will not be seeking re-election next year. I am going to focus on my family and my life out of public service. I look forward to this new chapter in my life and would once again like to thank the people of the 57th District for allowing me to be their voice in Springfield.”
Clayborne has represented the 57th Legislative District since 1995. The district is located primarily in St. Clair County, while also containing parts of Madison County.
Clayborne has also served as the Senate Majority Leader, the second highest ranking member of the Senate, since 2009.