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Sen. Donne Trotter retires

Friday, Jan 19, 2018

* I told subscribers about this earlier today. I assume the press releases will start rolling in soon. The first is from Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady…

“While an aisle may have separated us politically, Sen. Donne Trotter and I shared a passion to serve the people of Illinois, and to make our state a better place. Throughout his tenure, Donne was always a voice of reason, which was befitting the stature of the august chamber that is the Illinois Senate. Now, as he closes this chapter on his Senate career, he will no doubt begin writing another that will undoubtedly make a difference in the lives of those he comes into contact with on a daily basis.”

I’ll update as necessary.

…Adding… Senate President John Cullerton…

Donne Trotter is a unique individual and he will be missed in the Illinois Senate.

I will miss his leadership, his counsel, his wisdom, his calm, his experience and to top it all, his fantastic sense of fashion. I wish him nothing but the best, and am honored to have worked with him and to consider him my friend.

* Mayor Rahm Emanuel…

“Senator Trotter’s vibrant personality and commitment to our state’s most pressing issues are matched only by his compassion for those he serves. Throughout his three decade career he has been a tireless advocate for the people of Chicago and the state of Illinois. From fighting to make quality care affordable and accessible to reforming a disproportionate and discriminatory state education funding formula, Senator Trotter has been voice for the vulnerable and a champion for hardworking families. His service in Springfield created a stronger city and state. I wish him the best in his well-deserved retirement.”

* Sen. Kwame Raoul…

“I was lucky enough to call Senator Trotter not just my colleague, but also my mentor, my roommate and my friend. He supported me in replacing Barack Obama in the Senate when it was not popular in Springfield to do so, and I have benefited from his advice and support ever since. His intelligence, dedication and compassion will be sorely missed in the Senate.”

* From the Senate Democrats

Senate Assistant Majority Leader Donne E. Trotter (D-Chicago) released the following statement today:

“It was truly a pleasure to serve my constituents in Springfield over the last 25 years in the Senate and four years in the House.”

“I cannot say when the best time is, but I feel this is the right time to go forward and search out different opportunities, and to more importantly give others the chance to serve.”

“Throughout my career, I have tried to pass along the wisdom I’ve gained over my years of service. My own career was never my only focus; I also wanted to ensure the success of those who I knew would follow in my footsteps someday.”

“I’m comfortable with the people who are still serving in the Senate. They have the knowledge and the work ethic to lead our state in the right direction, and I’m not standing in their way.”

“I’m proud of being a strong voice on health care, education and budget issues, which are all of great importance to people of the 17th District.”

“It’s a very diverse district, including urban and rural areas. We haven’t been able to accomplish everything, but we’ve certainly made a measurable difference in our communities and statewide.”

“I had the great privilege of being able to sit at the table during all policy negotiations, especially the budget. I’m thankful for the voices back home who helped me to articulate the needs of our district and the state at large.”

Trotter has held his Senate seat since 1993. The district encompasses parts of the City of Chicago, Will County and Kankakee County.

Trotter has also served as assistant majority leader since 2013. His resignation is effective immediately. […]

Members of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus released the following statement regarding Senator Donne Trotter’s resignation from the Illinois State Senate:

“Senator Donne Trotter has been the consummate example of dedication to not only the citizens of the 17th District, but to the great people of this entire state. His 30 years as a member of the General Assembly, and specifically his 25 years as a member of the Illinois Senate have shown the Senator’s passion for public service.

“The Caucus will miss the Senator’s wealth of institutional knowledge and dedication to ensuring all Illinois residents have access to quality health care, education and general life wellness.

“Senator Trotter has stood fair and firm throughout his illustrious career. The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus thanks him for his three decades of service, and wishes him nothing but the best during his retirement.”

Members of the caucus released individual statements below:

Senator Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood): “It has a been an incredible journey working alongside my dear friend and colleague Leader Trotter for 20 of his 30 years of service. He was the seasoned appropriations chairman and public health enthusiast when I arrived and always showed me leadership, expertise and commitment. I will truly miss him, his support and his passion for serving people. He helped to lay the foundation for the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus and his legacy will continue on for generations to come.”

Senator Toi Hutchinson (D- Chicago Heights): “It is not easy to sum up a career in public service in just a few words. But my knowledge of the budget and revenue process was sharpened in a way that could have only happened with a teacher like Donne Trotter. From his impact on the National Conference of State Legislatures and the National Black Caucus of State Legislators to our statehouse, he challenged us to be better. And that means we as legislators are better for his service.”

Senator James F. Clayborne (D- Belleville): “Senator Trotter has been a public servant and champion of his community for his whole life. His knowledge of complex issues and ability to work across the aisle will be sorely missed.”

Senator Mattie Hunter (D- Chicago): “I knew Senator Trotter long before I became a legislator. When I worked for the Human Resources Development Institute he was our go-to guy for legislation and funding purposes. When I later became a colleague, Sen. Trotter and I worked together on many issues to address behavioral health and other social services. He was a great advisor and his institutional knowledge will be greatly missed.”

Senator Kwame Raoul (D- Chicago): “I was lucky enough to call Senator Trotter not just my colleague, but also my mentor, my roommate and my friend. He supported me in replacing Barack Obama in the Senate when it was not popular in Springfield to do so, and I have benefited from his advice and support ever since. His intelligence, dedication and compassion will be sorely missed in the Senate.”

Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago): “I have had the honor and privilege of serving with Senator Trotter over the last 13 years. He’s a true gem and gentleman in the Illinois General Assembly. Donne is well-read, knowledgeable and a powerful advocate and voice for the children and families of the state. No one ever has to wonder what he’s thinking because his remarks can be both brilliant and biting. Sometimes a jester but always a drum major for justice. He’s a public servant with heart, who embodies character, courage, and compassion. Donne is a dapper man of distinction, dignity, and decency, and I will truly miss my colleague and friend.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

21 Comments
  1. - m - Friday, Jan 19, 18 @ 1:16 pm:

    The guy is on another level from the average Illinois pol, will be missed.


  2. - Magnum - Friday, Jan 19, 18 @ 1:25 pm:

    This guy is a legend..he will be missed


  3. - Just Me - Friday, Jan 19, 18 @ 1:27 pm:

    I’ll never forget my first year as a lobbyist sitting in Trotter’s office lobbying him on something we really needed. Throughout my entire pitch he just sat there smoking his cigar. After I was done he waved me away and said, “Get the f**k out of my office.”

    I had to ask a friend if I insulted the Senator, and he laughed and said, “No, that means he is going to vote for it.”

    I was both mad and in awe at the same time.


  4. - Linus - Friday, Jan 19, 18 @ 1:40 pm:

    -Just Me-, I had similar memorable experiences with Sen. Trotter over the years.

    Donne has definitely been one of a kind, and instrumental to so much good policy work in Illinois. He will be missed.


  5. - LINK - Friday, Jan 19, 18 @ 1:45 pm:

    A good man to have on your side. Congrats on your retirement.


  6. - A guy - Friday, Jan 19, 18 @ 1:45 pm:

    It’s impossible not to like Sen. Trotter. It would be like not liking Floyd the Barber from the Andy Griffin Show. The guy just oozes kindness and warmth.


  7. - Jon Musgrave - Friday, Jan 19, 18 @ 1:47 pm:

    I first interviewed Sen. Trotter back in ‘96 and got to know him better over the years in the fight to save an important part of Illinois history down here in Southern Illinois. He is an institution in the Illinois Senate and will be missed.

    Senator, enjoy your retirement and if you’re still riding, enjoy the wide open road.


  8. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jan 19, 18 @ 1:49 pm:

    ===The guy just oozes kindness and warmth. ===

    We talking about the same person?

    lol


  9. - Chicago Insider - Friday, Jan 19, 18 @ 2:31 pm:

    Hearing the seat is going to Rep. Evans


  10. - Grand Avenue - Friday, Jan 19, 18 @ 2:33 pm:

    Here’s a question - how many State Senators are left who served in the Senate with Barack Obama?


  11. - Commonsense in Illinois - Friday, Jan 19, 18 @ 2:39 pm:

    Few people become masters of the state budget and its process. Donne Trotter was among a handful of people who truly understood it.

    Well done, sir. Enjoy your retirement, and thank you for your service.


  12. - Rockstar - Friday, Jan 19, 18 @ 2:44 pm:

    Senator Trotter will be deeply missed. No one knows the budget better than Trotter.

    Rich, on the fax you talk about Trotter being a friend. Who else is still around Springfield that is part of the Trotter and Rich Miller friends group?


  13. - Been There - Friday, Jan 19, 18 @ 2:46 pm:

    Similar to Just Me it took a few times to get to understand where Donne was coming from. More than once after talking to him for awhile he told me to move down the bar because he was going to discuss politics and no (derogatory name for white guy) needed to be hearing what they were going to discuss. But in the end he was always there for our cause.


  14. - City Zen - Friday, Jan 19, 18 @ 3:10 pm:

    See you, space cowboy.


  15. - La Femme Chiquita - Friday, Jan 19, 18 @ 3:17 pm:

    Rich, thanks for your comments in the fax about mentoring being one of Senator Trotter’s (many) big contributions. I’m not sure he’s always even trying to do it; part of it might just be that he’s got a keen sense of fairness and decency underneath the gruffness and the ability to skillfully wield a curse word. As a young staffer, and then when my post-staff work brought me into contact with him, I always felt acknowledged and respected when I met with Trotter. No matter who else was in a meeting, how important their title, or who they knew, the Senator simply treated me as a full participant and listened to my contributions. He was never condescending to me because I was young and female, and he never treated me like I was just in the room to take notes. He asked for opinions, and he listened to them. In a building and a world where women, young people, and people of color are not always made to feel that they belong at the table (no matter how much they know their stuff), his attitude and approach meant a lot.


  16. - OneMan - Friday, Jan 19, 18 @ 3:42 pm:

    Had the chance to chat with him for a while in an informal context. a gentleman who will be missed.


  17. - Boone's is Back - Friday, Jan 19, 18 @ 3:49 pm:

    Donne will be sorely missed. Big shoes to fill.


  18. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jan 19, 18 @ 4:03 pm:

    Dear Sen. Trotter,

    You will be sorely missed.

    There are members that are caricatures or characters, but you are a man of character who is exactly who you are. Your unique ability to be mentor and tough, and be great at both, can’t fake that. You balanced both in a way that an earned respect isn’t from fear or misunderstanding, but appreciating the uniqueness you brought for the young to learn, and the old to defer.

    When you speak, people stop and listen. You made sure others are heard so you could learn too. That’s a measure of a person secure in their own knowledge, and also craving to learn, and smart enough to want to listen and learn.

    Enjoy your retirement.

    Those you mentored, knowingly or not, owe you a great deal of thanks, as Illinois does too. They are your legacy, and they ensure your long shadow will be in the halls for a long time.

    Oswego Willy


  19. - Anonymous - Friday, Jan 19, 18 @ 4:22 pm:

    the bow tie guy…….have fun..maybe you should be an alderman and fix that bunch who say “YES” to everything Rahm wants.


  20. - Dirty Red - Friday, Jan 19, 18 @ 4:48 pm:

    This has bummed me out ever since I read the Fax this morning. That is a lot of institutional knowledge and class walking out of the door.


  21. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jan 19, 18 @ 5:57 pm:

    ===Who else is still around Springfield that is part of the Trotter and Rich Miller friends group? ===

    The herd has definitely thinned.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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