Saying Farewell to our Retiring Members

We are grateful for the service of our retiring members and wish them well in their future endeavors. Rep. Patti Bellock honored each of them on the House Floor. Here is a brief recap of her speech:

Mike Bost
Mike Bost has served in the Illinois House since 1995.

We are very proud that Mike is leaving us to join the U.S. House of Representatives as the new Congressman for Illinois' 12th District.

Mike was born and raised in Murphysboro, Illinois.  He and his wife, Tracy have been married for 34 years. They have three children and nine grandchildren.

Mike grew up working for Bost Trucking, a small business owned by his father and uncle, doing everything from hauling coal to washing trucks on weekends. He began his extensive and dedicated tradition to public service with his enlistment in the U.S. Marine Corps right after high school.

Mike served as a firefighter for the Murphysboro Fire Department and was first elected to public office in 1984 when he won a seat on the Jackson County Board. He also served as Treasurer for the City of Murphysboro and as a Murphysboro Township Trustee.

Mike, we will miss your passionate speeches and floor debates.

Congratulations on your lection to the U.S. House of Representatives and we wish you and your family all of the best. And Mike, we look forward to watching you on CSPAN.

Tom Cross 
Tom Cross has been a member of the Illinois House since 1993. He earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from Illinois Wesleyan University in 1980 and a Juris Doctor Degree from Samford University, Cumberland School of Law in 1983.

Tom was inspired to pursue a life of public service by his father, the Reverend Thomas Cross, Jr. and his mother, Ruth Cross, a public school teacher and principal.

Tom was admitted to the Bar in 1983 and served as a prosecutor with the Kendall County State’s Attorney’s Office from 1984-1992.

Tom was first elected to the Illinois House in 1992, rising to Assistant Republican Leader in 1999 before being elected by his caucus as House Republican Leader in 2002, a position he served in until September 2013.

As a member, Tom was the sponsor of new laws that cracked down on fraud and abuse of the state’s pension system.  He has been a leader and advocate on key children’s health and safety initiatives, including enhanced research for Juvenile Diabetes, new safeguards to protect youth football players from concussions, and stronger reporting and monitoring requirements for child sex-offenders.

Tom serves on the Board of Directors of the Illinois Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation; and is a partner with the firm of Mahoney, Silverman, and Cross in Joliet.

Tom, thanks for serving as our leader for 10 years.  It’s not an easy job, but we appreciate all of the extra time, miles and hard work you put in on our behalf.

Josh Harms 
Josh Harms grew up on a family farm in Watseka, Illinois.  He graduated from Illinois State University in 1997 and Governors State University with a Master’s Degree in 2007 and used his education to develop young minds in his own community, teaching in Vermilion and Iroquois Counties.

During his short tenure here in the General Assembly, Josh has served his communities by supporting many pro-business, pro-life and pro-taxpayer initiatives.

He served on the Agriculture and Conservation, Appropriations-Higher Education, Business Occupational Licenses, Cities and Villages, Economic Development, Public Safety: Police and Fire, and Veterans Affairs Committees.

While we are sad to see him go so soon, we wish him the best and are thrilled to see him have more time to spend with his two lovely children.

Kay Hatcher
Kay Hatcher has been a member of the Illinois House since 2009.

Kay’s was a dedicated public servant long before coming to Springfield, having served on both the Oswego School Board, the Kendall County Board and the Kendall County Forest Preserve District.

She previously managed her family’s central Illinois farm and had a successful career in the private sector as Community Affairs Director for Illinois Bell; and in the not-for-profit sector as Senior Marketing Director for Senior Services Associates.

During the current 98th General Assembly, Kay Hatcher has served as Republican Spokesperson on the Human Services, Transportation: Vehicles and Safety, and Tourism & Convention Committees.
Kay has been a trailblazer among and leader of Illinois Republican women through her work with the Illinois Lincoln Series, and the Illinois and National Federations of Republican Women and as a Precinct Committeewoman.

Kay has been noted for leading the effort to respect fallen U.S. service members and their families by sponsoring and passing a new law in 2011 to expand Illinois’ ‘Let Them Rest in Peace Act’, strengthening restrictions on protests at military funerals to protect the privacy of grieving families; and has been a fierce advocate for taxpayers.

She is also a marketing genius with a quick wit –you can witness that for yourself …if you aren’t already, make sure to send a friend request to her on Facebook and follow her posts.    

Kay is married to Steve Hatcher, a U.S. Army Veteran.  Together they raised four children and now have six grandchildren.  Our best wishes to Kay and to Steve.

Brad Halbrook  
Brad Halbrook was appointed to the Illinois House of Representatives in April 2012 and was elected to a full term in November 2012.

Brad is a small business owner and operates a diversified farm.

He previously served on the board of the Illinois Beef Association and was the Shelby County Republican Party chairman.

While in the House, Brad served on the Agriculture and Conservation, Appropriations-Higher Education, Biotechnology, Counties and Townships, and Environment Committees.

Brad passed legislation which was signed into law bringing greater transparency and accountability to Emergency Telephone System Boards, and legislation to create jobs in east-central Illinois through adding a locally-produced product to the bow and arrow definition of the Wildlife Code.

He has been a tireless advocate for the Second Amendment, lower taxes, farmers, economic development, and reduced government spending and transparency in government.

Best wishes to Brad and his wife, Linda and their two children.

Renee Kosel
Renee is currently the longest serving woman legislator in our caucus – having served since 1997.

Prior to joining the Illinois House, Renée Kosel earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Western Illinois University; and enjoyed a career as a school teacher in both Chicago and New Lenox.

Renée and her husband Dr. Alfred Kosel are long-time residents of New Lenox and have three children and nine grandchildren.

Renée has been an active member of her community, having served on the Lincoln-Way High School Board of Education and served on the Lincoln-Way Foundation for Educational Excellence Board of Directors. She currently serves on the Advocate Christ Medical Center Cancer Institute Foundation Board, Alliance of the Illinois State Dental Society, and the Illinois Rifle Association. She also serves as a member of Advocate Christ Medical Center Governing Council, and is a Scholarship America Advisory Board member.

Renee served for many years as an Assistant House Republican Leader for our caucus. As an assistant leader, she served as a mentor to many new lawmakers and for that we are very thankful.
She served on many committees, caucuses, and task forces including Tollway Oversight, Health Care Licenses, International Trade & Commerce, Executive, the Museums, Arts, & Cultural Enhancement Committee (Republican Spokesperson), and  the Illinois Historic Preservation Caucus just to name a few.

Renée always put the wishes of her legislative district first by being a fierce advocate for fiscal responsibility, consistently voting to balance the state budget and hold the line on taxes.

Renée Kosel has worked tirelessly for the residents of her legislative district sponsoring key pieces of legislation during her tenure, including a tax rebate for homeowners, expanding the Circuit Breaker Program, “Bill of Rights” for property owners, and a waiting list bill for the disabled.  She always placed education as her highest legislative priority, and fought for increased funding for our local schools and sponsored initiatives to improve school safety and reduce classroom sizes.  She also sponsored legislation to reform School Superintendents’ retirement plans and was instrumental in enacting the School Construction Program.

Today we thank State Representative Renée Kosel for her 18 years of dedicated service to the people of this State and wish her success and happiness in her future endeavors.

JoAnn Osmond
JoAnn had served in the Illinois House since 2002 following in the footsteps of her late husband Tim Osmond.

JoAnn retired from the House of Representatives this summer bringing to a conclusion a career in public service that spanned more than 30 years.

Upon her graduation from Holy Child High School in Waukegan, JoAnn enjoyed an 18-year career in the field of law, including six years as a para-legal in Washington, DC and as Executive Director of the Lake County Bar Association from 1977 to 1982.

JoAnn is the past owner of Osmond Insurance Services, in Antioch, and has been a licensed insurance broker in auto, life, and commercial insurance for nearly 30 years; her vast experience in the field of insurance led to her appointment as Republican Spokesperson on the Insurance Committee in the Illinois House of Representatives.

JoAnn Osmond’s legislative experience dates back more than 30 years, when she became the legislative aide to State Representative Robert W. Churchill in 1983, and later serving in the same capacity for State Representative Sidney Mathias until 2001.

We miss JoAnn and her ability to corral our caucus but we know she is spending her time wisely and is reportedly enjoying her retirement with her children and five grandchildren.

Sandy Pihos  
Sandy has served 12 years in the House.   

An educator and former school board member and president of Glenbard District 87, Sandy has proven herself to be a strong advocate for our schools.  Sandy is a long-time member of the Elementary and Secondary Education Committee where she served as the Minority Spokesperson, in addition she served as the Minority Spokesperson for Elementary and Secondary Appropriations.

We relied on Sandy’s experience as a small business owner on several committees such as Consumer Protection, Small Business Empowerment & Workforce Development, Commerce and Business Development, Tourism and Conventions, and on the Illinois Workforce Development Board and Bi-Partisan Job Creation Task Force. 

Sandy Pihos will be remembered for her outstanding record of support for education, social security protection, and consumer protection, identity theft, affordable housing, health awareness, children’s health insurance and environmental issues.

Sandy is the former co-chair of the Conference of Women Legislators and is the Current Illinois State Director of Women in Government and current co-chair of the New Leadership Program to hone the leadership skills of young women.

We want to thank Sandy for her service and wish her and her husband the best in the future. 

Dennis Reboletti
Dennis Reboletti has served 8 years in the Illinois House of Representatives.

Dennis graduated from York Community High School and earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science at Eastern Illinois University in 1990. After serving as a Deputy Addison Township Assessor, he decided to attend law school and was admitted to Valparaiso University College of Law. Upon graduation, Dennis was appointed an Assistant Attorney General under then-Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan and was responsible for defending the Illinois Department of Corrections from inmate lawsuits. 

He later served as an Assistant State’s Attorney in Will County for eight years, prosecuting violent criminals as a member of his office’s Organized Crime Unit where he earned membership in Illinois’ elite Capital Litigation Trial Bar.

In the spring of 1997, while still in his third year of law school, Dennis launched a write-in campaign and was elected as a 2nd Ward Alderman in the City of Elmhurst. In 2000, he was appointed as a Trustee to the Addison Township Board and was elected and was reelected twice.  

Dennis has served on several committees including: Transportation and Motor Vehicles, Mass Transit, and Judiciary II Committees. He has also since served on the Health Care Availability and Accessibility Committee and was Republican Spokesperson on the Judiciary Committee.  He also took on additional responsibilities as the Republican Spokesperson on the Restorative Justice Committee and as the sole Republican on the Criminal Procedure & Penalties Sub-Committee. 

Dennis worked in many prominent leadership roles during his career in the House, including serving as floor leader of the House Republican Caucus where he regularly raises the level of the debate on many critical issues that arrived at the House floor and served on the House Republican leadership team as Assistant Minority Leader. 

Dennis worked to strengthen and protect Illinois families and communities, having written and passed a law to create the country’s first of its kind murder registry, also known as Andrea’s Law, to alert people to when a person who has committed first-degree murder was returning back to their communities.  

In addition to practicing law, Representative Reboletti continues to educate prospective law enforcement officers as an Adjunct Instructor in Triton Community College’s Criminal Justice Department.  

We want to thank Dennis for his service and wish him and his 13 year old son, Zachary, all the best. 

Tim Schmitz 
Tim Schmitz has served in the Illinois House for 14 years.

Tim was one of the youngest elected members in the Illinois General Assembly when he first joined the House of Representatives in 1999.

Prior to his election to the Illinois House of Representatives, Representative Schmitz served on the Batavia Plan Commission and as a Batavia Alderman; and was a Policy Analyst for the Illinois House Republicans.

As an alumnus of the Bowhay Institute for Legislative Leadership Development (BILLD) and a Toll Fellow of the Council of State Governments, Representative Schmitz was recognized for his leadership abilities and elected to serve as an Assistant Republican Leader and later as Deputy Republican Leader.

Tim is a recipient of the Red Cross’ Hometown Heroes award, and received the Fireman of the Year award in 2005.

He earned his degree in Public Administration and Political Science from Augustana College where he met his wife, Julianne, and together they reside in Batavia with their children, Alex and Ryan.
In addition to being a husband, father, and elected official, Representative Schmitz has remained a firefighter and emergency medical technician with the Batavia Fire Department, a position he has held since 1984.

Amid all the craziness, Tim has always maintained the ability to remain calm.  And for that we will truly miss him.

Darlene Senger 
Darlene Senger has been a member of the Illinois House since 2009.

Darlene Senger worked her way through Purdue University, earning a bachelor’s degree in Finance before earning her Master of Business Administration in Finance from DePaul University. She previously served on the Naperville City Council.  She is the proud mother of two children; son Eric and daughter Michele.

Prior to joining the General Assembly, Darlene Senger enjoyed a successful career in the private sector as a licensed Financial and Investment Advisor.

Darlene’s experience proved beneficial during the pension reform debate…she served as Republican Spokesperson on the House Personnel & Pensions Committee and as a leader on the Pension Conference Committee.

She also served as Republican Spokesperson for the Appropriations-General Services Committee and as a member of the Appropriations-Elementary & Secondary Education.

Darlene has worked on a bipartisan basis to find solutions to the State’s most complex challenges including education funding, property tax relief, fiscal reform, and common sense measures to keep law enforcement officials ahead of the technological curve.

Darlene always gave 100% and more to this body and we are going to miss her, and wish her well now and in the future.

Jil Tracy
Jil Tracy first joined the Illinois General Assembly in 2006.  She graduated from SIU School of Law and practiced law in Mt. Sterling, Illinois for 17 years.   Jil has spent much of her life donating her time and efforts to many civic organizations.  Just to name a few, she was a founding member of the Brown County United Way, the Tracy Family Foundation and helped to develop the Mt. Sterling Community Center and YMCA.

Jil Tracy was appointed by Attorney General Jim Ryan in 1997 to serve as the Illinois Assistant Attorney General and Director of the West Central Regional Office and continued in that office under Attorney General Lisa Madigan until 2004.

Jil is one of the six members of the Legislative Ethics Commission and she was one of the 21 House members selected to serve on the Investigative Impeachment Committee that found reason to impeach Governor Rod Blagojevich in December of 2008 and is the outgoing Co-Chair of the Illinois Conference of Women Legislators.

Jil is married to Jim Tracy and is the mother of four beautiful children. We are going to miss her sense of humor – she knows how to make difficult situations easier.