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Senator Donne E. Trotter Bio

Few others understand Illinois State Government as well as Donne Trotter, a veteran of the General Assembly for over two decades.

Born in the southern Illinois town of Cairo, Trotter was raised in Chicago where he has lived throughout his entire life.  He attended the University of Arizona and Chicago State University where he earned an undergraduate degree in History and Political Science.  Trotter also attended Loyola University School of Law in Chicago where he earned his Masters of Jurisprudence in Health & Policy.

Trotter was elected to the Illinois Senate in 1992 after spending two terms in the House of Representatives. Senator Trotter is also one of the Democratic caucus’ leading experts in state budgeting.  As chairman of the Senate Appropriations I committee, he has worked to reduce unnecessary spending, encouraged streamlining of state services and earned a reputation for evenhandedness in difficult negotiating circumstances.

As one of the longest serving legislators in Springfield, Trotter has built commendable record on health care and public health issues. He was one of the key leaders in helping to create the state’s KidCare program, which is designed to provide health insurance for low-income children.  Additionally, he has been a tireless advocate for funding critical health care investments including the FamilyCare program, which provides medical coverage insurance to the parents of children enrolled in KidCare.

In an effort to combat the spread of deadly diseases, he authored initiatives permitting adults to purchase sterile syringes from pharmacies without a prescription.  He has passed legislation that allows an individual to file a petition asking for his/her personal police records to be sealed, after which no one would have access to the records except law enforcement agencies, giving individuals a second chance at contributing to their community.

In 2001, Senator Trotter sponsored and passed the law that created the Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act. The legislation provides that birth parents may legally leave a newborn at a hospital, fire station or emergency medical facility. If neither child abuse nor neglect is suspected, no questions will be asked.

In order to help Illinois' elderly pay for long-term health care, Senator Trotter has advocated a Elder Care Savings Bond program that would be similar to the state's pre-paid college savings program, allowing Illinois residents to pay into a fund to avoid higher nursing home and other long-term health care costs in the future.  He also has co-sponsored legislation to protect seniors and the developmentally disabled who rely on assisted living arrangements.  Under Trotter’s proposal, the Illinois Department of Public Health would license assisted living and shared housing facilities to better protect consumers of these services.

Senator Trotter introduced legislation creating a prostate-screening program within the Illinois Department of Public Health.  Noting that African-American men have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer, he led the effort to create an income tax check-off to fund research aimed at finding a cure for prostate cancer, an awareness program on the dangers and importance of early detection.

The Senator and his wife, Rose, have four children.

Senator Donne E. Trotter


17th District
Assistant Majority Leader

Years served: 1988–1993 (House); 1993–Present (Senate)

Committee assignments: Energy and Public Utilities; Appropriations I; Executive; Appropriations II (Vice-Chairperson); Committee of the Whole.

Biography: Senior hospital administrator; born Jan. 30th, 1950, in Cairo; B.A., Chicago State University; M.J., Loyola University School of Law; married (wife, Rose), has four children.

Associated Representative(s): Marcus C. Evans Jr., Elgie R. Sims Jr.