One of Illinois' longest-serving Republicans is preparing to step down after nearly a quarter century in the state legislature.
Rep. Don Moffitt, R-Gilson, is retiring next week after 24 years in the General Assembly, where he served Knox, Henry, Bureau and Mercer Counties.
"When people ask me how long I've been there, I say, 'Well, first let me set the record straight -- Lincoln had left before I started,'" joked Moffitt on Thursday, January 5, 2017.
The walls of Moffitt's office in Galesburg are covered with mementos from his time in office. There are nearly 20 shovels from various groundbreaking ceremonies, fire helmets, awards, and framed photos with politicians including President George H.W. Bush, President Barack Obama, and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
The second-most senior Republican in the Illinois legislature said he's done a lot of reflecting over the past few weeks.
"It's bittersweet, it truly is. I don't know where the time went," said Moffitt. "It is bittersweet, clearly."
Moffitt said he's especially proud of his work to improve infrastructure and public safety in the state. The key to each legislative success, he says, is bipartisan help.
"I think we need to get back to that, with the objective of working for the people. We need a budget, and we need to do it as efficiently as possible," said Moffitt.
In the future, Moffitt would also like to see term limits on the legislature's leadership positions, as well as redistricting reform.
Although there is more work he'd like to do, Moffitt said he's anxious to spend time with his family. During a recent trip to the farm, he spent the evening riding in the combine with his son, grandson and granddaughter.
"The thought occurred to me, 'It doesn't get any better than this.' And I need some more times like that night," said Moffitt.
Moffitt will be back in Springfield on Monday, January 9, 2017, for the lame duck session. He hasn't ruled out a return to local government sometime in the future.