MURPHYSBORO -- For the first time, a woman will hold the seat of the 115th district in Illinois' House of Representatives.
Terri Bryant, R-Murphysboro, defeated Bill Kilquist, D-Murphysboro, 18,806 votes to 11,511, with 97 percent of precincts reporting Tuesday evening.
Bryant, who is employed as a public administrator with the Illinois Department of Corrections, said the people who supported her throughout the campaign are what helped her to the seat.
“This could not have happened without everybody here tonight,” said Bryant at the Murphysboro Elks Lodge.
After a campaign filled with attack ads and mudslinging thrown at both campaigns, Bryant said it was an awesome experience from beginning to end.
“I really have enjoyed it” Bryant said. “All in all, it has been the greatest experience of my life.”
Kilquist, former Jackson County Sherriff and current John A. Logan Board of Trustee member, did not return calls Tuesday night before deadline.
Bryant is the first state representative in the 115th district since 1995, when Mike Bost, R-Republican, defeated Democrat Gerald Hawkins.
Bost decided not to run for the 115th District Seat to run for the 12th Congressional seat against incumbent Bill Enyart, D-Belleville, which he won Tuesday as well.
Bryant said she will represent the district with the same values she ran on in her election.
The campaign consisted of Bryant attacking Kilquist of being controlled by Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, to Kilquist accusing Bryant of accepting multiple owner-occupied exemptions on two different homes in De Soto and Murphysboro.
Bryant said the first issue she will attempt to tackle when being sworn into office in January will be will be to get the state’s finances in order.
“The first thing we need to do is start looking line by line with what we are doing with our spending” she said
Bryant said the state needs to begin looking at reopening Tamms Correctional Center because inmates and staff at correctional facilities have been put in danger by closing the super max facilities.
“That will bring in some jobs as well, but it is also for the safety of the district,” she said.
She said she will also look at the formula for how Southern Illinois schools receives funding for education.
The message Bryant said she would like to send to her constituents in the 115th district is that she is ready to get started.
“Let’s get to work,” she said. “We have a transition to go from Mike (Bost) moving into Congress, it should be a really smooth transition and I am looking forward to getting busy.”