Althoff announces resignation from state Senate seat

Pamela Althoff speaks at a candidate forum Sept. 19, 2016, hosted by the League of Women Voters of McHenry County at McHenry County College. Althoff is seeking a spot on the McHenry County Board.
Pamela Althoff speaks at a candidate forum Sept. 19, 2016, hosted by the League of Women Voters of McHenry County at McHenry County College. Althoff is seeking a spot on the McHenry County Board.

State Sen. Pamela Althoff has announced her resignation.

Effective Sept. 30, Althoff will step down from her seat representing Illinois Senate District 32, according to a resignation letter she released Friday morning – a move she executed with a “heavy heart.”

“The decision to resign prior to the end of my term allows me the ability to not only tie up loose ends, but also to remove the appearance of utilizing my state office as a way to campaign for the McHenry County Board District 4 seat,” Althoff wrote. “As I serve my final weeks as state senator, I can’t help but feel immensely grateful and honored to have served the constituents of the 32nd District for the last 16 years.”

The McHenry native, a Republican, has served as a member of the state Senate since 2003. She has backed legislation to expand agriculture, increase open space and promote economic growth.

Althoff serves as the Senate Republican Caucus chairwoman and is the minority spokeswoman for the Revenue and Licensed Activities and Pensions committees.

The race for Althoff’s seat now is between Republican McHenry County Board member Craig Wilcox and McHenry Township’s Democratic assessor, Mary Mahady. The general election is Nov. 6.

If elected, Althoff said, she plans to focus her energy on ensuring the long-term sustainability of the Fox River Waterway, a subject she championed as a senator.

Before she joined the Senate, Althoff served as the city of McHenry’s mayor from 2001 to 2003.

The former special education teacher also worked as an assistant administrator with the McHenry Area Chamber of Commerce and the McHenry city clerk and collector.

“I’ve said all along that I would serve 15 years. It worked out that I was able to serve 16 years, but now is the time to give this opportunity to someone of a newer generation – someone with different ideas, experiences and perspectives,” Althoff wrote in her announcement. “While I loved every minute of serving in the Illinois Senate, I have chosen to pursue another public service opportunity closer to home.”

Althoff characterized McHenry County as a great place to work, live, play and raise a family.

“I know this transition, though bittersweet, is what is best for me and the 32nd District,” Althoff said.

Althoff thanked her colleagues, staff and constituents for “making my years of service some of the best years of my life, and I sincerely hope I met your expectations in return.”

In her last re-election bid in 2016, Althoff drew a two-year term ending in 2018. The McHenry County Republican Party now is poised to appoint a replacement.

A similar move happened in July in the 33rd Senate District, where state Sen. Karen McConnaughay,
R-St. Charles, announced she would vacate her seat and step down Monday – two months before the election.

In 2003, Althoff was appointed to her seat in the Senate, where she has served since.

Wilcox recently reached out to McHenry County Republicans and asking for support should Althoff resign early. If he gets appointed, Wilcox would run for the Senate seat as a senator.

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