By CBS 2 Chicago Staff

CHICAGO (CBS) — Illinois State Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) is resigning from the legislature to join Gov. JB Pritzker’s office as a senior adviser.

Manar, who has been a lead budget negotiator for Illinois Senate Democrats and advocate for school funding reform during his eight years in office, will step down from his seat on Jan. 17.

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“The time has come for someone new to take up the call in the Illinois Senate. Central Illinois is full of outstanding individuals ready to step forward to meet the challenge – be an agent of change in Downstate Illinois,” Manar said in a statement.

“I will cherish the friendships I forged as we accomplished meaningful change together over the past eight years. And I will always appreciate the truly unique diversity of the small towns and urban neighborhoods of the 48th District. While serving communities with people from all walks of life was often challenging it brought me great joy to see first-hand what unites us and to then bring that perspective to Springfield to take on big issues. I’m proud to say we did that together and along the way improved life for everyone in this state.”

Pritzker’s office said Manar will work closely with the governor “on a range of issues, including downstate economic revitalization, appropriations, and COVID-19 recovery efforts.” Manar will start his new position as senior adviser on Jan. 19.

“Andy has been one of the most thoughtful and successful lawmakers of his generation, and he will be a trusted advisor,” Pritzker said in a statement. “In his career, Andy has done so much to improve the lives of working families. He led the effort to reform the state’s antiquated education funding formula, made insulin cheaper for the millions who depend upon it, led efforts to reform election laws, and oversaw the appropriations committee during truly challenging times. Any one of those accomplishments would be hailed as a career capstone, and Andy has too many to name. I value his insights and look forward to him joining my administration as we overcome this pandemic and rebuild Illinois together.”

Before he was first elected to the Illinois Senate in 2012, Manar served as chairman of the Macoupin County Board from 2004 to 2012, as mayor of Bunker Hill from 2001-2003, and as a Bunker Hill city council member from 1997 to 2001.

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While serving in the Illinois Senate, Manar helped pass a 2017 law to bring automatic voter registration to Illinois, and also advanced a landmark change to the state’s school funding formula the same year. The school funding legislation steered more funding toward poorer school districts, including $450 million in new funding for the Chicago Public Schools.

Democratic Party chairs in Christian, Macon, Macoupin, Madison, Montgomery and Sangamon counties will choose Senator Manar’s replacement for the remainder of his term, which expires in January 2023.

Illinois Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) said “It’s hard to imagine the Illinois Senate without Andy Manar.”

“He’s been a guiding force for so many lawmakers on so many issues, first as a chief of staff and then as a Senate colleague. He’s compiled a lifetime of achievements in what is still a very young career. Atop that list would be the education funding overhaul he led that sets our state on a course for fundamental education fairness, equity and excellence. Andy’s been my friend and an invaluable sounding board since my first days in the Senate, and I’m grateful that our friendship is even stronger today. The governor is very lucky to have him. I wish Andy all the very best in his new role,” Harmon said in a statement.

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CBS 2 Chicago Staff