Voting for Mike Bost in the 115th District had become almost as commonplace as watching "The Wizard of Oz" or turning your clocks forward every year. Bost"s decision to leave the statehouse and run for congress in November against Bill Enyart takes voters in the 115th district out of their comfort zone.
After redistricting, only a few hundred voters on the east side of Perry County are affected by the 115th district. The district now comes up out of Union County, covers Jackson County, winds east along the east side of Du Quoin in Perry County, then heads up into Washington and Jefferson counties.
Not as critical to Perry County, it is nonetheless important to Southern Illinois.
Republican candidates of Bost"s party seeking his seat are Terri Bryant and Robert White. Democrats seeking the seat are largely part of the old Democrat guard, William Kilquist and Tony Mayville.
Kilquist was a six-term sheriff in Jackson County, John A. Logan College board member and is the former warden of the Murphysboro Youth Center. Challenger Tony Mayville, who has claimed Kilquist would be running with the backing of Illinois Speaker Mike Madigan, is a Dubois democrat.
Mayville is a state mine safety official placed on unpaid leave from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources for allegedly accepting contributions from the coal industry he was hired to oversee. In the closing weeks of the campaign the contributions have been ramping up on both sides. Contributions passed the $130,000 mark last week for both camps with heir republican counterparts picking up about half of that.
Mayville said most of the contributions have gone to the Washington County Democratic Central Committee, of which he is the chairman. He said one check to the committee was inadvertently deposited into his campaign fund, but it has been paid back.
Kilquist says Mayville keeps "trying to beat me up with Madigan" but adds that he is his own man and has a proven record of service.
Mayville is a graduate of Cahokia High School and attended Southwestern Illinois College. After a short time, Mayville joined the coal mining industry. He said he initially thought he would make some quick money and go back to school, but he eventually found himself enjoying his profession.
Also running for the seat are republicans Robert White, the Jefferson County Board chair, and Terri Bryant of Murphysboro, an Illinois Department of Corrections manager at the Pinckneyville Correctional Center who unsuccessfully ran for the Jackson County board last year.
Robert White is an insurance agent and entrepreneur. He was born in Chicago and graduated high school in Ann Arbor, Mich. White joined the Army in 1988 and served in the Gulf War. He graduated from SIU-C in 1996 with a marketing degree.
White married his wife, Christina, in 1993, and they moved to Nashville in 1996. The two eventually relocated to Mount Vernon, where he opened his own insurance agency in 2003.
He ran for the Jefferson County Board in 2008.
White was successfully elected and eventually became chairman in 2010 under a Democrat-controlled board. He retained his seat in 2012, receiving another four-year term.
Bryant is the director of the dietary department for the Pinckneyville Correctional Center and the Du Quoin Impact Incarceration Program. She was born in Gary, Ind., and moved to the Trico Community Unit School District in Campbell Hill.
She finished high school in south Florida while spending her summers in Jackson County. She then attended John A. Logan College before she opened Murphysboro"s Blue Bell Restaurant in 1988. Bryant joined the Illinois Department of Corrections after she left the restaurant to take care of her child.
Bryant was accepted as a academia fellow and eventually graduated from the Illinois Lincoln Excellence in Public Service Series, a program designed to increase the number of Illinois Republican women in office. Bryant is also a member of the Illinois State Employees Association, Laborers Local 2002, where she serves on the executive board.
Terri has served as a Precinct Committee Woman since 2006. At present she is Second Vice Chair of the Jackson County Republican Central Committee and Vice President of the Jackson County Republican Women"s Club. She was a delegate to the Illinois Republican Conventions in 2008 and again in 2012. At the 2008 Illinois Republican Convention Terri was selected as a Presidential Elector and at the 2012 Convention she served on the committee to appoint at large delegates to the National Convention.