State Rep. Sente says she won't seek re-election

Democratic state Rep. Carol Sente is the latest in a long string of moderate suburban lawmakers to leave office.

She will not seek another term in 2018, she told the Daily Herald exclusively.

Sente, of Vernon Hills, met with House Speaker Michael Madigan Monday to inform the chamber's longtime leader of her decision.

In office since 2009, Sente said she "set a goal from the outset to serve between eight and 12 years." News of her departure comes as a host of other moderates from the suburbs have announced similar plans, as an atmosphere of partisan gridlock pervades the state capitol in Springfield.

"I think moderate legislators are getting lost and that troubles me," Sente said. "Those of us in the middle, frankly, are drowning."

Republican state Rep. Steve Andersson said last month that he won't seek re-election. Northbrook Democratic Rep. Elaine Nekritz said in June she is stepping down. Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno of Lemont left in June. Republican Reps. Patti Bellock of Hinsdale, Barb Wheeler of Crystal Lake and Bob Pritchard of Hinckley are also not running for re-election.

Sente was sworn into office in September 2009 after she was selected by party officials to replace departing Democratic state Rep. Kathy Ryg.

Sente, owner of a consulting firm, called her political office an "opportunity of a lifetime" and said she's proud of working on issues including pro-business initiatives, increasing college credit for advanced placement exams and increasing penalties for underage drinking parties during her time at the statehouse.

Sente has taken some controversial votes - including supporting the state's recent income tax hike and a separate education funding plan that provided financial help to Chicago Public Schools. Those votes would have again made her seat a target Republicans would hope to pick up next November.

"The competitive campaigns are certainly a factor. I've had five in eight years ... I've also had a small business the entire time, and I'm single. You lose five months of the year (in Springfield). There is a little bit of a drain."

Sente did not announce any immediate future plans, but said she would "remain open to other opportunities."

"I want to bring my 100 percent to this," she said. "If you feel a little worn down, you owe it to your district to recognize that."

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