By CARL GREEN
Alton, IL – Longtime Illinois State Representative Dan Beiser (D-Alton) said last week he will not run for another term next year, leaving both legislative seats in the Alton area without an incumbent.
Beiser, 61, a friend of working families, said he is leaving so he can enjoy retirement with his wife, Terri, a registered nurse who recently retired from St. Anthony’s Hospital in Alton.
Beiser was appointed to replace former Representative Steve Davis in 2004, and held the seat through the next six elections. His present term runs through January 2019.
One of his key pieces of legislation changed a state law relating to Conoco Phillips, which allowed the company’s refinery to be expanded. He worked with Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) to push through rebuilding of levees along the Mississippi River to prevent major flooding. He also helped bring completion of Illinois Route 255, the four-lane highway that extends Interstate 255 from Edwardsville to north of Alton.
“I told our local and state Democratic officials in March I had a strong inclination not to run,” Beiser said. “I have had a good run.”
The Beisers have a daughter, a son and four grandchildren, all living nearby.
“I think it is time to call it a career,” he said. “My mom died at 53, and my father became ill with throat cancer at 66. His quality of life greatly declined after that. I don’t want to take for granted my health will be there when I’m 63, 64 and 65.”
Mike Babcock, 55, the Wood River Township supervisor who ran against Beiser last November, said he will run again for the position. Babcock, a Republican from Bethalto, had 47.4 percent of the vote to Beiser’s 52.6 percent.