Forby Road Construction Illinois State Senator Gary Forby (D-Benton) said he fully supports a plan to save road construction jobs in Southern Illinois.

Earlier this month, the Illinois Department of Transportation announced it would have to cease all road construction jobs in Illinois due to the lack of state funding.
“When I heard that IDOT was planning to stop road projects, I thought about the hardworking men and women that would lose their jobs if that happened. As a person who has made job creation my number one priority, I can’t stand by and let that happen,” said Forby.

Senate Bill 2047 includes a plan that includes a full IDOT capital program for road and transit, as well as payments to local governments from gas taxes.

“Not only will this legislation help keep jobs in our community, but it also will ensure money that is owed to local communities through gas taxes released to help with important expenditures,” Forby added.

The legislation is currently in the House, but is expected to come before the full Senate when the General Assembly reconvenes on Wednesday, June 29.


Category: Informational

During my time as your State Senator, I have focused on…

- Putting Southern Illinois back to work

The best way to get our economy on track is by putting people back to work and creating good-paying jobs for the people of Southern Illinois. During my time as your State Senator, job creation and attracting businesses to Southern Illinois have been my top priorities.

- Developing and revitalizing Southern Illinois coal technologies

The coal mining industry was once the backbone of our local economy, creating thousands of jobs and generating millions of dollars for our region. Coal is a valuable resource that we have a lot of, and it continues to have a huge impact on the development of our region.

Working to fix the state budget

As Illinois continues to recover from the nation's historic economic downturn, it is vital that we work together to get people back to work and pay our bills to fix our budget crisis. Now, more than ever, we need to come together and find reasoned solutions during these tough times for the people of our districts.

Protecting gun owners’ rights

Hunting is a strong tradition here in Southern Illinois and our second amendment rights deserve to be protected. This is an issue of fairness for the law-abiding citizens who own a firearm in our district and throughout the State. 

Paying our bills

As a business owner / operator for over 30 years, I know you cannot run a successful business without paying your bills on time. We have an obligation to our local hospitals, school districts and rural health care providers to pay them what they’re owed.

Senator Forby has also remained committed to…

- Promoting veterans’ health care and their rights

- Ensuring our children’s education is affordable and attainable

- Protecting Southern Illinois working families

Category: Informational


Senator Forby passed the state’s first capital construction plan in over a decade. The capital bill is investing more than $31 billion to repair roads, bridges, schools, hospitals and other infrastructure improvements through 2015.

  • Total Jobs Created /Retained in Illinois (through 2015): 439,000 jobs

Locally, this program is creating hundreds of thousands of jobs in Southern Illinois. Some of the largest projects in Southern Illinois include:

  • More than $100 million to expand Illinois Route 13 to six lanes between Marion and Carbondale.
  • More than $60 million dollars for Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.
  • $3 million to build an emergency access wing on the Cairo Megaclinic—restoring emergency room service to Alexander and Pulaski Counties.
  • Approximately $3 million to upgrade the Vienna Correctional Center.
  • More than $2 million for school construction in the Benton School District.
  • More than $160 million to improve local roads, spread across 13 counties.

The plan also includes other projects to improve schools, sewer lines, hospitals and other state and local facilities throughout Southern Illinois.


The coal mining industry has a strong, proud tradition in Southern Illinois. The industry pumps about $1 billion into the state's economy and represents about 2,000 total jobs in Senate District 59, with over 500 more to be created in the near future. The development of clean coal technologies are a welcoming sign to the coal regions in Southern Illinois and will provide an economic boost to the region. 

Illinois’ First Clean Coal Plant

  • The $3 billion clean coal plant in Chicago will use at least 1 million tons of Illinois coal every year, increasing demand for Southern Illinois coal and putting hundreds of new miners back to work locally (PA 97-0096).



    Continental Tire Expansion (Mt . Vernon)

    Senator Forby sponsored legislation to allow the Continental Tire plant in Mt. Vernon to take advantage of the state’s EDGE Tax Credit program, which is designed to attract new businesses and retain existing companies in Illinois (PA 97-0002).

    • Total Jobs Created (over next four years): 444 jobs
    • Total Direct Capital Investment: $224 million

    Marion Chamber of Commerce Expansion

    Senator Forby sponsored legislation to help expand the Marion Chamber of Commerce building and create a regional visitors' center (PA 96-0587).

    Leisure Properties LLC d/b/a Crownline Boats (West Frankfort)

    Senator Forby helped retain jobs in Southern Illinois by allowing Leisure Properties to take advantage of the EDGE Tax Credit program in 2010.

    • Total Jobs Created: 5 jobs
    • Total Jobs Retained: 130 jobs
    • Total Direct Capital Investment: $1.8 million



    Trauma Center Funding for Local Hospitals

    Senator Forby helped secure a potential $300,000 for area hospitals by sponsoring legislation that allows money generated locally to stay in Southern Illinois (PA 97-0209).

    • A portion of fines collected from traffic violations goes into a fund that distributes money to hospitals within the state’s 11 trauma districts, none of which are in Southern Illinois. Forby’s measure ensures area hospitals are not left out of that funding.
    • The total amount of money in the Fund is $3.5 million, which means Southern Illinois could see an estimated $300 thousand in funding directed to local hospitals.

    Cairo MegaClinic Expansion

    As part of the 2009 Illinois Jobs Now! plan that Senator Forby supported, the Cairo MegaClinic recently received $3 million for the construction of a 16-bed hospital addition. The new hospital wing of the MegaClinic will open in 2013, employing 90 people full-time and creating an additional 40 construction jobs over the next two years.

    •  Total Jobs Created (over next four years): 130 jobs


    Rural Legislator of the Year - 2010

    In 2010, Senator Forby was named the “Rural Legislator of the Year” by the Illinois Hospital Association for their commitment to small and rural hospitals. The Rural Legislator of the Year Award honors a member of the Illinois State Senate and a member of the Illinois State House of Representatives for their service to rural health care in Illinois.



    School Construction Program (SCP) Grants

    In May and October 2010, a number of SCP grants were awarded to schools in Benton, Johnston City, Cairo and Carterville totaling $18.7 million for building and renovating local public schools. Specifically, these grants included…

    • May 2010: $821,000 (out of $2.4 million available statewide) for Benton Community Consolidated SD 47
    • May 2010: $176,00 (out of $528,000 available statewide) for Johnston City CUSD 1
    • October 2010: $1.2 million (out of $3.6 million available statewide) for Cairo SD 1
    • October 2010: $16.5 million (out of $22.5 million available statewide) for Carterville CUSD 5



    Concealed Carry & FOID Cardholders’ Privacy

    Senator Forby fought for gun-owners’ rights by introducing a bill that would have brought concealed carry to Illinois and passed a measure that ensures the safety of Illinois FOID card holders.

    Fighting Oppressive Chicago Gun Laws

    In 2012, Senator Forby led the effort to defeat two anti-gun bills proposed by the mayor of Chicago.  One would have created a handgun registry and fee.  The other would have put a tax on ammunition.  Though the majority of the money collected from these fees and taxes would have come from Downstate, most of it would have been spent on Chicago programs.  Forby joined his Downstate colleagues to collect thousands of petition signatures and to convince the legislature to vote down these laws.



    After devastating tornadoes and strong storms struck Harrisburg, Carrier Mills, Ridgway, and other communities on February 29, 2012, Senator Forby worked with other state officials to provide members of the community support for efforts to clean up and rebuild.  Forby also helped raise money for local charities and passed legislation making it easier for families who lost their homes to rebuild.

    When the Mississippi River approached dangerously‐high water levels due to historic rain totals, Senator Forby came to the defense of the Cairo community by publicly supporting a plan to breach the Bird's Point levee and save the City from being completely submerged by flood waters. Soon after the water levels returned to normal, Forby worked with local representatives and IMEA officials to acquire federal assistance funding for counties affected throughout Southern Illinois. A month later, Forby and local legislators hosted the "Southern Illinois Together" benefit to raise funds for area organizations assisting flood victims. In total, the event raised $150,000 to assist local residents and their families.

    In May 2009, after severe weather ripped through the area causing power outages, uprooted trees, and damaged homes and businesses, Senator Forby worked with the Governor's office and Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) officials to determine what assistance was needed by residents and their families, and remained in constant contact with local officials and power companies about the latest news regarding power outages. The governor declared Williamson, Franklin and Jackson counties as state disaster areas which assisted in accessing resources to support local governments in disaster response and laid the initial steps for acquiring federal help.



    According to the Department of Tourism, Illinois' tourism industry last year generated $29.3 billion in revenue, an increase of more than $2.2 billion from the previous year. Despite Chicago experiencing a decline in visitors, Southern Illinois tourism numbers improved significantly - generating nearly $270 million in economic impact in Senate District 59 alone. In total, Illinois tourism created 287,500 jobs statewide in 2010, supporting one in 10 jobs in our state directly and indirectly. State and local tax revenues from tourism totaled more than $2 billion in 2010, an increase of $93.5 million.

    The tourism industry in Illinois’ 19 southernmost counties had an estimated impact of about $480 million and every county saw an increase. Specifically in Senator District 59…


    Alexander County

    • Economic Impact: $5.6 million, up 6.2%

    Franklin County

    • Economic Impact: $29.4 million, up 2.3%

    Gallatin County

    • Economic Impact: $3.5 million, up 8.4%

    Hamilton County

    • Economic Impact: $4.8 million, up 1.2%

    Hardin County

    • Economic Impact: $7.7 million, up 8%

    Massac County

    • Economic Impact: $63.5 million, up 0.5%

    Pope County

    • Economic Impact: $5.3 million, up 9.5%

    Pulaski County

    • Economic Impact: $3.4 million, up 1.8%

    Saline County

    • Economic Impact: $15.7 million, up 4.4%

    Union County

    • Economic Impact: $8.8 million, up 6.7%

    Williamson County

    • Economic Impact: $106.5 million, up 9.2 %
    Category: Informational

    2016 Legislative Survey

    Contact Us

    Capitol Office:
    417 Capitol Building
    Springfield, IL 62706 
    (217) 782-5509

    District Office:
    903 West Washington, Suite 3
    Benton, IL 62812 
    (618) 439-2504


    eNewsletter Signup
    1. First Name(*)
      Invalid Input
    2. Last Name(*)
      Invalid Input
    3. Your Email(*)
      Please let us know your email address.