Born and raised in Macoupin County, Senator Andy Manar and his wife Trista reside three blocks from where Andy grew up in Bunker Hill. Together they have three young children Abbie, Will and Ben. Andy holds a B.A. in History from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. He also maintains Illinois teacher certification. In addition to being a member of numerous civic and charitable organizations, Andy is a member of Zion Lutheran Church in Bunker Hill.
In 1997 at the age of 21, Andy was elected to the Bunker Hill City Council. In 2001, following his first term in elective office, he was elected as mayor of his hometown. Andy’s tenure as mayor was marked by the construction of an 18-acre city park, the city’s largest sidewalk replacement project, and housing rehabilitation for low income and senior citizens.
In 2003, Andy left the mayor’s office in Bunker Hill to join the Macoupin County Board. After serving just over a year as the youngest member of the 27-member board, he was elected chairman in 2004 and served four successive terms.
As chairman, Andy worked to get the county’s budget under control citing that the county’s fiscal path at the time was unsustainable. Prior to being elected chairman, the county was experiencing record deficits on an annual basis for several years.
Macoupin County lost hundreds of jobs and significant tax revenue when two of the county’s three active coal mines closed in 2007 and early 2008. Citing a fiscal crisis, Andy demanded that the board become more disciplined and put a priority on the balancing the county’s budget. Perhaps just as important, he pushed for an end to partisanship and political bickering among board members and worked to ensure cooperation and open lines of communication between the public, county employees and county elected officials to find effective budget solutions. As a result, board members in 2011 voted unanimously to cut their own pay and reduced the size of the Macoupin County Board by one-third, saving taxpayers more than $40,000 annually.
After shutting down a county-run economic development office, Andy helped create the Macoupin Economic Development Partnership, a collaborative public-private partnership run equally by private business and municipal and county government together – an innovative approach that looked to gain the valuable perspective of local private business leaders in order to make government more efficient and produce a better result.
Newspapers have consistently recognized Andy for his efforts to balance the county’s budget. In 2008, the Alton Telegraph referred to his stewardship through the budget crisis brought on by the multiple mine closures as “awe-inspiring” for a county that had a reputation of closed-door government. Recently, the Macoupin County Enquirer Democrat wrote that Andy has made “excellent financial decisions” as chairman. Andy’s strong roots in public service come from the late Senator Vince Demuzio. He met Demuzio during his senior year of high school in 1993, when he enrolled in a college course taught by Demuzio, who quickly became a mentor. Andy’s first position with the Illinois Senate was an unpaid internship working for the Senator in Carlinville focusing on constituent services for Macoupin and surrounding counties. Just over a decade later, recognizing the need for a downstate perspective in his new administration, Illinois Senate President John Cullerton named Andy as his chief of staff. Cullerton noted at the time that along with the respect he had earned among Democrats and Republicans in the Legislature, Andy’s patient demeanor, knowledge of the state budget and proven ability to work closely with members of a diverse caucus would suit the role well. Andy left the Senate staff in December 2011. He was elected to represent the 48th Senate District in November 2012 and was sworn into the Senate on January 9, 2013.