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 vice chair of the Senate's Agriculture and Conservation Committee and serves on the Higher Education, Financial Institutions, Revenue and Transportation 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. In 2009 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 recognition of his work in the General Assembly, Sullivan has received numerous awards. These include the 2012 Friend of Agriculture, 2012 Friend of Education and 2012 Legislator of the Year awards from both the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs and the Illinois Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts. He also has been awarded the 2012 Rural Legislator of the Year from the Illinois Hospital Association.

Sullivan graduated from Quincy College, now Quincy University, in 1981 with a Bachelor of Arts in history. That year, he also earned his Illinois Real Estate Salesman's License and in 1983 his Real Estate Broker's License. He worked as a loan officer before joining his family's auction and real estate business, Sullivan Auctioneers, in 1986.