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State Senator Jeff Schoenberg announced on Nov. 8 that he will not seek reelection at the end of his term in 2012, and will instead exclusively pursue a career in another realm of social impact:  philanthropy.

“While I take very seriously my responsibility to my constituents on the North Shore and to the taxpayers of this state, I also know that my position in the State Senate is only one point of entry into public service,” said Sen. Schoenberg in a prepared statement. “The issue that has been at the center of my passion and what motivates me the most professionally is improving the lives of children and families, especially in our most vulnerable communities. This has been my focus both here in Illinois, across the country and at times across the ocean in my other full-time career advising the philanthropy of J.B. and M.K. Pritzker for the last five years.

“With this in mind, effective upon the completion of my current term in office in January, 2013, I’ve chosen to accept an expanded full-time role advising the Pritzker family on their philanthropic initiatives in the area of early childhood development.”

Sen. Schoenberg was elected to the House of Representatives in 1990 and served six terms there before being elected to the State Senate in 2003. He currently serves as Assistant Senate Majority Leader, is co-chair of the legislature’s Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability and is a member of other committees.

State Representative Daniel Biss (17th District) announced he will run for Sen. Schoenberg’s seat in the upcoming primary election.

“The decision came down to one simple point,” Rep. Biss said. “Moving to the Senate will allow me to have a bigger impact on the exact same issues I’ve been addressing in the House—fiscal policy, education, environmental policy, and political reform. …”

As a result of the redistricting the 17th District now includes a greater portion of Evanston than before. Eleven persons have announced that they will run in the primary for state representative of the 17th District in light of Rep. Biss’s decision to run for the Senate. Community activist Jeff Smith appears to be the only Evanstonian who will run in the March 20 primary.

“It’s a very serious decision for me and my family. I have to take into account my supporters and my community as well,” he said. Reportedly, the Democratic Party of Illinois will weigh in on the choice of candidates for the newly drawn 17th District.