METROPOLIS — Massac County State’s Attorney Patrick Windhorst announced his candidacy for state representative of the 118th District of the Illinois House Tuesday at Fort Massac State Park. The seat is currently held by Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg.
Windhorst, a Republican, is a lifelong resident of Southern Illinois, is a graduate of Massac County High School, University of Illinois and Southern Illinois University School of Law. He calls Southern Illinois home.
“Right now our home is in crisis. Businesses are closing. Our schools are underfunded, and our next generation is looking at a future dimmer than our own,” Windhorst said.
He chose the spot of the park that overlooks the Ohio River and Interstate 24 bridge into Kentucky to make his announcement.
“That bridge represents the path 100,000 of our friends and family take to better opportunities and better lives outside Illinois,” Windhorst said.
Changing the direction of the state will not be easy, but Windhorst is ready for the challenge. He said the first obstacle to tackle will be Speaker of the Illinois House Michael Madigan and the legislators who enable him. He called State Rep. Brandon Phelps is one of the enablers.
“His (Phelps’) first vote every session it to make Madigan speaker of the House and his second vote is to approve House rules that give Madigan all the power,” Windhorst said.
He said that not only can the state do better, it must do better.
Windhorst was introduced by Massac County Sheriff Ted Holder, who said he was excited that Windhorst decided to run, but also devastated to be losing him as state’s attorney. Holder said Windhorst treats everyone who goes before him fairly and works to bring them justice.
“He has a no-nonsense attitude and ability to do what’s right for Southern Illinois,” Holder said.
Windhorst said the hardest part of his decision to run for state representative was the stress it would put on his family. He believes the needs of Southern Illinois outweighed those concerns.
“I believe I can bring change to the region, but until we remove Madigan we will not have change,” Windhorst said.
“He’s a good neighbor, and he will be a good state representative,” Harmon Quint, who lives across the alley from Windhorst, said.
Some of the goals Windhorst said he will pursue include making Illinois a more attractive place to live and work, citing property taxes and income taxes as items that make the state unattractive. He said the state also could grow revenue by increasing business in the state.
Windhorst has served as state’s attorney for 12 years. He is a member of Metropolis Rotary Club. He is a former member of Massac County Mental Health Board and Cairo Women’s Shelter and a boys’ basketball coach at Unity Elementary School. Windhorst and his wife, Holly, have two children, Lucy, 6, and Leo, 4.