Commercial-News Editorial: Sen. Scott Bennett will be missed | Opinion

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Residents in Illinois’ 52nd Senate District heard the sad news Dec. 9 of the death of state Sen. Scott Bennett, 45, from natural causes.

Bennett, a Democrat who lived in Champaign, had represented most of Vermilion County since 2015 when he was appointed to fill the remaining term of Michael Frerichs, who had been elected state treasurer. Bennett went on to win full terms during elections in 2016 and 2020.

Bennett’s relatively young age added to the shock of the news, but many of his constituents will miss Bennett because of his dedication to them and to issues they thought were important.

Regardless of political affiliation, Bennett listened and, when possible, tried to find a solution to problems his constituents found most important.

That bipartisan effort to help people living in his district reflects a long tradition of lawmakers in east central Illinois such as the late state Sen. Harry “Babe” Woodyard and former state Rep. Bill Black, and continued by Bennett and state Rep. Mike Marron. They recognized that the duty of a public servant is to serve the people, not partisan interests or yielding to lobbyists and their deep pockets.

Marron, R-Fithian, after hearing of Bennett’s passing, said, “… Scott embodied professionalism and bipartisanship in his role of senator and I will be forever grateful for all the accomplishments we were able to bring to the great people of Champaign and Vermilion counties. …”

Sadly, too many lawmakers at all levels put most of their effort into gaining and keeping power rather than into serving the real needs of those they are elected to serve.

Bennett’s efforts in the Illinois Legislature earned the respect of his fellow lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle.

State flags flew at half-staff Monday in Bennett’s honor.

In his order regarding the flags, Gov. JB Pritzker said, “Today, the state of Illinois mourns the loss of a dedicated public servant and devoted father. Sen. Scott Bennett was a good man who always operated with the best interest of his constituents in mind. … The entire state is a better place thanks to his service.”

We hope those with the responsibility of choosing Bennett’s successor find someone who also plans to work for the people and not politics, who wants to see every constituent succeed and not just the ones who agree with him or her. The legacy established by Bennett and others won’t be easy to live up to, but it’s exactly what the people of the 52nd Senate District — and all of Illinois — deserve.

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December 20, 2022 at 09:04AM

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