Senator Gary Forby Bio

Gary Forby has dedicated decades of his life to serving the people of Southern Illinois.  Before he was appointed to the Illinois Senate in 2003, he served in the Illinois House, on the Franklin County Board, and on the Benton Township Board. 

Throughout his legislative career, Senator Forby has worked to bring economic opportunities to Southern Illinois.  He was a strong advocate of the capital bill that was signed into law in the summer of 2009, and he has worked tirelessly to support local industry.  Forby has worked with several local companies and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to help open new coal mines—taking advantage of the region’s rich mineral deposits to create thousands of new jobs.  He has supported agricultural initiatives, working closely with the Farm Bureau.  For years he has been instrumental in providing funding for the Dixon Springs Agricultural Center in Pope County and has also been a key supporter for Southern Illinois’ growing tourism industry.

Senator Forby’s other major legislative priority is ensuring that the state pays its bills on time.  He has seen the negative impact of late payments on institutions like the Franklin County Juvenile Detention Center and health care providers, and he continues to advocate for responsible budgeting that allows for timely payments.

While jobs and the economy are Forby’s top priorities, he has also worked to protect vulnerable members of society and improve living conditions in Southern Illinois.  He is a strong supporter of the Anna Veterans’ Home and other programs for Illinois veterans.  He has sponsored legislation to help senior gets discounted medication, to help create a statewide Amber Alert system, and to prevent methamphetamine production.

Senator Forby understands the needs of Southern Illinois because he has lived in the region for his entire life. Born in Anna in 1945, he now lives in Benton. He is very active in community organizations such as the Shriners and the Elks’ Club.


He has worked as a farmer and owns Forby Excavating, a successful small business.  Forby has been an active member of the Engineers’ and Laborers’ International Unions for nearly four decades.


Senator Gary Forby


59th Senate District

Years served:
2001-2003 (House); 2003 - 2017 (Senate)

Committee assignments: Energy and Public Utilities; Labor (Chairperson); Insurance; Licensed Activities and Pensions; Committee of the Whole. (99th G.A.)

Biography: Born January 4, 1945, in Anna, Illinois. Full-time state legislator; former farmer and businessman; past chairman, Franklin County Board; former member, Franklin - Williamson Human Services Board; current member, Southern Illinois Workforce Man-Tra-Con Board, Operating Engineers and Laborers' International unions.