Welcome to the Illinois Senate Democratic Victory Fund. We are a political committee that works to elect and support democratic candidates to the Illinois Senate through fundraising, research, and voter contact and communication.
State government affects many of the most important aspects of our day-to-day life—our families, our jobs and our local communities. Throughout Illinois history, the Senate Democrats have broken barriers, set milestones, and passed key legislation on equality, education, and political reform. Learn about some of the iconic Illinois Senate Democrats and their achievements below.
JOHN W. COPPINGER
John W. Coppinger was elected to the Illinois Senate in 1890, and previously served as the mayor of Alton, Illinois. Coppinger served as President of the 38th General Assembly and was a strong advocate for the rights of 19th century workers. Among his legislative accomplishments was his introduction of a bill to secure the repeal of The Merritt Conspiracy Act.
WALTER I. MANNY
In 1913 Walter I. Manny served as the chairman of the Efficiency and Economy Committee created by the 48th General Assembly, which reorganized the administrative machinery of the state.
PHILLIP J. ROCK
Serving from 1971 to 1993, Phillip J. Rock is the longest-elected President of the Senate and Democratic Party Leader in the history of Illinois. Senator Rock’s distinguished legislative career included the successful enactment of over 450 new laws, including the original Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act; mandatory insurance coverage for newborn children; the state’s I SEARCH law; and the successful Illinois Tax Amnesty program.
Harold Washington was a lawyer and politician who became the first African-American Mayor of Chicago. Prior to his service as mayor, Washington served in the Illinois Senate from 1976 to 1980.
It was here that Washington focused on and worked to pass the 1980′s Illinois Human Rights Act, a piece of legislation that rewrote all of the human rights laws in the state, restricting discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, physical or mental disability, military status, sexual orientation, or access to financial credit, and the availability of public accommodations.
In 1976, Earlean Collins became the first African American woman in a leadership position in the State Senate, serving as Democratic Leader of the Executive Committee.
Collins proposed important crime and safety measures, including directing the Illinois police to create guidelines for high-speed pursuits and requiring handgun buyers to complete an eight-hour firearm safety course. Today, she continues her public service as a Cook County Board Commissioner.
EMIL JONES JR.
Emil Jones Jr. was tireless advocate for education reform in the senate; spending years working to ensure Illinois schools received fair and adequate funding. Jones served as Senate President from 2003 to 2009, and had a fundamental role in President Barack Obama’s 2004 U.S. Senate win by providing important introductions to then little-known liberal State Senator and enabling Obama to handle important legislation early in his political career.
MIGUEL DEL VALLE
In 1987, Miguel del Valle was elected the first Hispanic Senator in the Illinois General Assembly. He was the Assistant Majority Leader in the Illinois Senate, and also was the first Latino to hold that position. Del Valle served as an outspoken advocate for Latino representation in the legislative and judicial branches of government.
He was the Co-Chair of the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus and was the only Latino member of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus. Del Valle served in the senate for 20 years, and his leadership in redistricting cases in 1981, 1991, and 2001 led to the creation of Latino majority districts on the city, county, and state levels.
During her four terms as a state senator, Debbie Halvorson earned the reputation of being one of the hardest working legislators in Springfield. In 2005, she became the first female Illinois state senate majority leader. Halvorson often fought for the rights of Illinois’ most vulnerable citizens.
She created a program that offered every senior and disabled person in Illinois cheaper prescription drugs, which was the first of its kind in the nation. Halvorson also supported the creation of All Kids, Illinois’ innovative child healthcare program.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA
Forty-Fourth President of the United States Barack Obama served in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004. As chairman of the Illinois Senate’s Health and Human Services Committee, Obama sponsored successful efforts to expand children’s health care and to create a plan to equalize health care access for all Illinois residents.
He also helped pass worker’s rights laws that protected whistle-blowers and ensured overtime pay and equal pay for women. One of the President’s most public accomplishments as a State Senator was a bill that required police to videotape interrogations and confessions in potential death penalty cases.
On the national and international stage, President Obama has achieved a long and comprehensive list of accomplishments—from neutralizing Usamah bin Laden to passing historically unmatched health care legislation that stops insurance companies from arbitrarily capping or canceling coverage, provides access to recommended preventive care without co-pays or deductibles, and strengthens Medicare.