General election season heats up

Cathy Decker/Staff Reporter
Bill Albracht

William "Bill" Albracht, 63, has never held a political office. Not that he hasn't been involved in politics. He is running as a Republican for a senate seat in Illinois' 36th District and recently stopped at the Times Record office. The District 36 seat is currently held by Mike Jacobs.

Jacobs won the current district with 59 percent of the vote in 2008. Since then, the Senate district map has been redrawn, based on the 2010 census. These new districts will have no official representation until the candidates for the various offices are elected at the Nov. 6, 2012 general election.

The individuals elected on Nov. 6, 2012 will take office in January of 2013. The areas changing districts can be seen on the State Board of Elections web site (

Most of Mercer County is changing from District 36, to District 37, now represented by Darin LaHood of Peoria. These maps will be used for all congressional and legislative elections through 2020. Sen. Darin LaHood, R-Peoria, was appointed to the seat in February, 2011, after the retirement of Dale Risinger, who had been re-elected in November. LaHood is the son of Ray LaHood, the U.S. secretary of transportation who previously served seven terms in the U.S. House.

Following the general election in November of 2012, the Board of Elections will update information regarding the elected congressional, legislative, and representative officials, including office addresses and other contact information.

The new 37th Senate District will stretch to the Mississippi River, taking in Mercer County and picking up parts of Henry County. It extends halfway across the state to Marshall and La Salle counties. It extends to the Peoria city borders on the south and up to parts of Lee County on the north.

"I've got a lot of friends in Mercer County," says Albracht, adding he's not happy that redistricting moved the county out of District 36. "I announced (my candidacy) in Mercer County." He feels pretty confident he will win. "I'm knocking on doors," he said.

Albracht is a retired Secret Service agent, a job he held for 25 plus years.  "I've even worked as private security under Obama," he added. "I worked on the security detail during the Reagan-Busy term in the White House."

He names both George Bush and Ronald Reagan as his favorite presidents. "They were wonderful men, and his son George W. Bush. They are all truly, truly great Americans," he said. "You could tell your children 'That's who you want to grow up to be like'."

He is very concerned with two issues -- the Illinois pension system and Medicaid. "Medicaid is a disaster," he said. While the poorest of the poor do need help, he thinks there is plenty of fraud going on. "I believe in a hand up, not a hand out."

As an example he said that a family of four with an income of $70,000 qualifies for Medicaid. "I believe they could pay for some sort of health insurance," he said.

From 1989 - 1999 Albracht spent 10 years as Mr. Mom and moved back to the Quad Cities. "I was a single parent and an agent," he said. "I've done a lot of things in my life, but I do believe that God put me on this earth to raise those kids." Albracht was born and raised in Rock Island and currently lives in Moline.

He is also a decorated war veteran, serving in the Vietnam War. He entered the Army in 1966 as a private and was discharged as a captain in 1970. "I was the youngest captain in the Vietnam War (at age 21)," he said.

One of his biggest honors was a recent one. He was one of five former Secret Service Agents to be interviewed and featured in a Discovery Channel feature called "Secret Service Secrets."

"I spent six hours in front of the cameras," he said. The feature was aired in January or February of 2012. He talked about the "code of honor" of being a Secret Service agent. "And no, I've never been to Cartagena (Colombia)," he said.

He thinks fixing the state's pension system is top priority. "I do have a few ideas," he said. "I believe that promises made are promises kept," he said, adding that working with unions and the financial experts is important.