A west central Illinois lawmaker is stepping down, just days after he won re-election. Republican Jim Watson of Jacksonville says he will leave the seat to take over as Executive Director of the Illinois Petroleum Council. The group represents oil refineries, marketers and others in the industry. Watson’s final day in the General Assembly will be December 3rd. He’s been there for more than a decade. He says it was a tough decision to leave…
WATSON “It’s a bittersweet thing, but on the other hand, it’s an opportunity that presented itself with the petroleum council that I just felt was a good fit for me and my family. So, it’s time.”
Watson says a key issue he’ll be working on is the controversial method of drilling deep into rock layers in the earth to extract petroleum and natural gas. It’s called “fracking” and some question if it’s a safe practice. Watson says if it can be done in an environmentally cound way, it can create jobs and help the U-S gain energy independence.
Watson calls the decision to close the Jacksonville Developmental Center his most heartbreaking loss professionally. GOP County Chairmen in his district will decide on a replacement for Watson.