State Senator John M. Sullivan (D-Rushville) was born Jan. 9, 1959, in Macomb. He lives on his family farm outside Rushville with his wife, Joan. They have four children and two grandchildren. Sullivan was first elected to the Senate in 2002.
He is the chairman of the Senate’s Agriculture Committee and serves on the Higher Education, Financial Institutions, Insurance, Transportation, State Government and Veterans Affairs and the Environment and Conservation Committees. He was appointed assistant majority Leader in 2011 and was previously majority caucus whip.
Sullivan’s foremost priority as a legislator is representing the numerous and varied needs of the residents of Western Illinois. His top priorities include creating jobs, improving education and building and maintaining the state’s infrastructure. He was a chief architect in a $30 billion comprehensive construction plan, which helped create thousands of new jobs, jump-stared the economic recovery and built or repaired necessary infrastructure.
Agriculture is vital to western Illinois, and Sullivan is a strong advocate for the state’s farmers. He is the only farmer serving in the Senate: where his first-hand knowledge of farming gives Illinois farmers an effective voice in Springfield. He has advocated for investing in crop-based fuels and has helped farmers by protecting tax exemptions for livestock feed, farm chemicals and seed.
In addition to supporting local schools and communities, Sullivan also works personally with students and instructors across the region. Sullivan often speaks at schools in his district about the role of the state legislature, civic engagement and the impact that state government has on people’s everyday lives. Sullivan often invites student groups from his district to the Capitol. Sullivan has also served as a guest lecturer on state politics and government at local universities and colleges.
Sullivan graduated from Quincy College, now Quincy University, in 1981 with a Bachelor of Arts in history. Before joining the Senate, he worked as a real estate broker, loan officer and auctioneer in addition to running his family farm.