PastorWoodPastor Jeremy Wood, who just marked his 14th year as pastor of First Congregational Church of Bunker Hill, delivered the invocation to the Illinois Senate on May 22.

“Keep ever in our hearts and minds those that we are called to serve, so that our state might be a place where all experience happiness and hope and healing,” Wood said in offering an opening prayer and words of encouragement to lawmakers.

Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) invited Wood to deliver the invocation.

On Friday, Wood celebrated his 14th year as pastor of First Congregational, a role he began on June 16, 2003.

Pictured: Pastor Jeremy Wood (center) and Betty Zarges, both of Bunker Hill, join Senator Andy Manar for a photo on Monday, May 22, 2017, on the floor of the Illinois Senate.

Category: People of the 48th

BrigidDunn05242017Brigid Dunn, who will be a freshman at Carlinville High School in the fall, joined Senator Andy Manar at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield for Manar’s senator for the day program.

Dunn, 14, is the daughter of Matthew and Jackie Dunn of Carlinville.

She visited the Capitol on May 24 and accompanied Manar to committee hearings; meetings, including an interview Manar did with a Chicago Tribune reporter about Senate Bill 1, the school funding reform legislation he later advanced; and onto the Senate floor where lawmakers debated legislation.

Dunn is a voracious reader and was a member of her middle school’s scholastic bowl team, which won regionals during the most recent school year. Her favorite subjects in school are English and social studies. She is the oldest of four children in her family, including Megan, 12, and Patrick and Matthew, both 11.

Manar talked to Dunn about her interests and what it was like for her to move from Chicago to Carlinville when she was in the fourth grade.


Category: People of the 48th

MaxHallaron05262017Max Hallaron, who will be a fifth-grader at Rochester Intermediate School in the fall, joined Senator Andy Manar at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield for Manar’s senator for the day program.

Hallaron, 10, is the son of Scott and Becky Hallaron of Rochester.

He visited the Capitol on May 26 and accompanied Manar to committee hearings, meetings and onto the Senate floor where lawmakers debated legislation. He also met Senate President John Cullerton.

Hallaron’s favorite subject in school is science, and he is a big fan of Star Wars movies and his two dogs, Jem and Scout.

Manar interviewed Hallaron about his interests while he was at the Capitol.


Category: People of the 48th

ManarRogerWalkerFamily05252017 600

Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) and members of the Illinois Senate on Thursday recognized the legacy of Roger Walker, the first African-American sheriff elected in Illinois.

The Senate unanimously approved a resolution designating Illinois 48 between Elwin Road and East Mound Road in Decatur as the Sheriff Roger E. Walker Jr. Memorial Road to memorialize Walker’s public service and his personal and professional achievements.

Roger Walker 150Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), whose district includes Decatur, sponsored the resolution and said it is difficult to believe it was as recently as 1998 that Illinois saw the election of its first African-American sheriff.

“I was a young Senate staffer in 1998, assigned to the late Senator Vince Demuzio. I still recall hearing of Roger’s election and reading for the first time in The State Journal-Register that he was the first African-American in the entire state to be elected sheriff,” Manar said.

“The power behind that, the meaning behind that, doesn’t belong with just one man. It belongs with many people who helped him get to that point and beyond. I view this resolution as a very small part of what we can do to recognize the achievements of the great people who are among us as citizens in Illinois.”

Numerous senators spoke fondly of Walker, remembering him as a warm, funny and accomplished man who overcame many obstacles, but mostly they remembered him as a trailblazer and one of Illinois’ most remarkable citizens.

Walker, who died in 2012, was a Macon County native, a graduate of Eisenhower High School and Richland Community College in Decatur, and a veteran of the U.S. Navy. He joined the Macon County Sheriff’s Office as a deputy in 1972, and he rose through the ranks to become a patrol sergeant, detective and lieutenant.

In 1998, Walker made history when, in Macon County, he became the first African-American individual in Illinois to be elected to the office of sheriff. He was re-elected in 2002.

In 2003, he was appointed director of the Illinois Department of Corrections, and he served in that position for six years. He also served on the Illinois Prisoner Review Board from 2009 until 2010.

Numerous Walker family members and friends were in the Senate chamber Thursday to watch the resolution’s passage and to meet with Manar, Senate President John Cullerton and other senators afterward.
Corey Walker, Roger Walker’s nephew and state president of the Black Chamber of Commerce of Illinois, thanked Manar for his work on the resolution.

“To me personally, this is a historic moment, and it is overwhelming to know someone who was living and breathing and had these kinds of accomplishments,” Walker said. “He was just a great person, and I think today speaks volumes about that.”

Pictured at top: Illinois Senate President John Cullerton and Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) pose for a photograph with family and friends of the Roger Walker family on Thursday, May 25, 2017, following the Senate’s unanimous approval of Senate Joint Resolution 37, memorializing the Sheriff Roger E. Walker Jr. Memorial Road in Decatur. Among the friends and family who attended Thursday’s Senate proceedings in Springfield were Corey Walker, Billy Clark, Kay Cook, Shalen Walker, Ralonda Walker, Hilda Walker, Antonio Brown, Courtney Carson, Arthur Lee Walker and Jim Taylor.

Pictured below: Roger E. Walker.

Category: People of the 48th