Senator David Koehler Bio

Dave Koehler has dedicated his life to community development and public service.   Koehler was elected to the Senate in November 2006. However, rather than taking office in January 2007, he began serving December 2006 when incumbent Senator George Shadid retired.

Prior to serving on the Senate, Koehler spent six years on the Peoria County Board and eight years on the Peoria City Council—including two years as Mayor Pro Tem.  In every elected position, Koehler has worked tirelessly to serve the voters who elected him and to improve the quality of life of the communities he represents.

Before he first held elected office, Koehler embarked on a career of community development.  He earned a bachelor’s degree from Yankton College in 1971 and earned a Masters of Divinity from the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.  From 1972 to 1978, he worked for the National Farm Worker Ministry, helping improve the lives of migrant workers.  After moving to Peoria in 1978, Koehler began a job as a community organizer and later became manager of Peoria Friendship House—an organization that helps the city’s most vulnerable citizens secure education, nutrition, clothing, shelter, and other basic necessities.

In 1985, Koehler became the first Executive Director of the Peoria Area Labor Management Council (PALM)—a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing cooperation between labor and management in the area’s many unionized factories and facilities.  In 1992 he also became President of PALM’s Labor Management Cooperate Health Programs—a purchasing cooperative aimed at finding low-cost, high-quality health care for its members and the community.

Senator Koehler’s legislative career builds on his life experience.  He is an outspoken advocate of health care reform—believing that everyone in our state and society should have access to adequate health care.  He has sponsored many initiatives to expand and improve health care, especially for Illinois’ most vulnerable citizens.

Koehler also has worked tirelessly on behalf of green industry to ensure that Illinois be at the forefront of technological innovation and responsible agricultural programs.  Koehler believes that finding green alternatives will not only restore environmental health, but also provide stable economic growth.  He has successfully provided funding for renewable energy companies and encouraged the use of local food products.

Senator Koehler lives in Peoria with his wife Nora Sullivan, an instructor at Methodist College of Nursing.  They have three daughters, a son-in-law and two granddaughters.



Sen. David Koehler

Assistant Majority Leader
46th District

Years served:
Appointed December 2006; Elected 2008 - Present

Committee assignments: Agriculture; Education; Environment and Conservation (Vice-Chairperson); Labor; Local Government; Transportation; Subcommittee on Capital (TR); Oversight Medicaid Mang. Care, Spec; Supplier Diversity, Special Com. On; Sub. on Interscholastic Athletics (Sub-Chairperson).

Biography: Born and raised in South Dakota, moved to Peoria in 1978; B.A., Yankton College, 1971; M.A. in divinity, United Theological Seminary, 1974; staff member, National Farm Worker Ministry; community organizer and program manager, Peoria Friendship House; executive director, Peoria Area Labor Management Council; president, Labor Management Cooperative Health Programs Inc.; Peoria County Board member, 1982-88; Peoria City Council member, 1989-97 (mayor pro tem, 1993-94); first elected to Senate in 2006; married with three daughters, a son-in-law and two granddaughters.

Associated Representatives:
Jehan Gordon-Booth
Michael D. Unes