David Koehler
Member of the Illinois Senate
from the 46th district
Assumed office
December 2006 (2006-12)
Preceded byGeorge Shadid
Personal details
Born (1948-12-16) December 16, 1948 (age 72)
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Nora Sullivan
Children3 Daughters
ResidencePeoria, Illinois
Alma materYankton College (B.A.)
United Theological Seminary (M.Div.)
ProfessionMinister (retired)

David Koehler (born December 16, 1948) is a Democratic politician from Illinois, and has been the Illinois State Senator from 46th Legislative District since December 2006. The district includes Canton, East Peoria, Fairview, Lewistown, Mapleton, Peoria, Pekin and West Peoria.[1][2]

Biographical background[edit]

Koehler was born and raised in South Dakota. He graduated from Yankton College in South Dakota (Bachelor of Arts, 1971) and United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio (Master of Divinity).[1]

He was a staff member at the National Farm Worker Ministry (NFWM) from 1972 to 1978 working in Arizona, Ohio, New York, and eventually at the United Farm Workers La Paz headquarters in Keene, California.[1][3]

He moved to Peoria, Illinois in 1978,[3] and became a community organizer[clarification needed] manager and for the Peoria Friendship House, a local charity. He became executive director of the Peoria Area Labor Management Council (PALM) in 1985, and president of its Labor Management Cooperative Health Programs in 1992.[1][3]

His wife is Nora Sullivan.[1] They live in Peoria,[3] and started Peoria Bread Company, a bakery, in 2006.[4]

Koehler is a retired minister in the United Church of Christ.[5]

Political career[edit]

Koehler was on the Peoria County Board from 1982 to 1988, and Peoria City Council from 1989 to 1997.[1][6] While on the city council, he was mayor pro tem for two years.[3]

Koehler was elected to the Illinois Senate in November 2006; his predecessor, George Shadid, retired in December 2006, allowing Koehler to take office in December prior to his elected term in January 2007.[3] He was re-elected uncontested in 2010.[7][8]

In early 2010, Koehler and other lawmakers called for the elimination of the position of Illinois Lieutenant Governor.[7] After candidate Scott Lee Cohen, the Democratic primary winner for Lieutenant Governor, dropped out, Koehler applied to be considered for that seat as running mate in Governor Pat Quinn's first election campaign after succeeding to the governorship.[7][9] Sheila Simon was selected by the Democratic State Central Committee instead,[10] and won the election.

During the 96th Illinois General Assembly, Koehler was the chair of the Local Government Committee and of the Subcommittee on Fertilizers and Chemicals (of the Agriculture and Conservation Committee).[11] He is also Vice-Chair of the Energy Committee.[12] In the 97th General Assembly, he was once again chair of the Local Government Committee and chair of vice-chair of the Energy Committee.[6]

Saying he had a good team and was pleased by the results, Sen. Koehler defeated his Republican opponent for a second four-year term in the Nov. 2012 general election, Peoria-area businessman and developer Pat Sullivan, by a margin of 39,149 to 31,684 — or a 55 percent to 45 percent margin, with Tazewell County unable to provide complete results late Tuesday. His priorities are pension reform and tax code changes, civil unions, passing of concealed carry, and containing the budget and a backlog of unpaid bills.[13]

Koehler was reelected to a fourth term in 2016. In 2018, J.B. Pritzker appointed Koehler to Powering Illinois’ Future transition committee, which is responsible for infrastructure and clean energy policies.[14] He defeated Mary Burress in the 2020 general election, winning a fifth term in the Illinois State Senate.[15]

Illinois Senate 46th District election results 2006-2020
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct
2006 Dave Koehler 32,873 58.61% Ernie Russell 23,209 41.39%
2010 Dave Koehler 43,474 100% no candidate
2012 Dave Koehler 45,054 54.18% Pat Sullivan 38,104 45.82%
2016 Dave Koehler 70,854 100% no candidate
2020 Dave Koehler 47,492 53.89% Mary Burress 40,634 46.11%


  1. ^ a b c d e f "About Dave Koehler". Dave Koehler, State Senator, 46th District. Pekin, Illinois: Friends of Dave Koehler. Archived from the original on 2011-05-30. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  2. ^ Staff (2011-05-18). "PA 97-0006 Legislative District 46" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-09-07.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Senator David Koehler Bio". Illinois Senate Democrats. Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus. 2009-07-28. Archived from the original on 2012-12-28. Retrieved 2014-12-10.
  4. ^ "Goodness Cafe". Peoria, Illinois: Peoria Bread Company. 2010-11-29. Archived from the original on 2011-02-07. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  5. ^ Wetterich, Chris (2010-12-02). "Illinois Senate approves civil unions; bill headed to governor". The State Journal-Register. Springfield, Illinois. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  6. ^ a b "Senator David Koehler (D), 46th District". Springfield, Illinois: Illinois General Assembly. Archived from the original on 2011-04-28. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  7. ^ a b c McDonald, Karen (2010-03-05). "Koehler wants No. 2 spot". PJStar.com. Peoria, Illinois: Gatehouse Media.
  8. ^ "Home > Illinois 2010 > Candidates > KOEHLER, DAVID". Follow the Money. Helena, Montana: National Institute on Money in State Politics. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  9. ^ WEEK-TV (2010-03-05). "Sen. Koehler Talks About Lt. Gov. Office". East Peoria, Illinois: Granite Broadcasting. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  10. ^ Pearson, Rick (2010-03-27). "Clout St: Democrats pick Simon as Quinn's running mate". newsblogs.chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  11. ^ "Senator David Koehler (D), 46th District, 96th General Assembly". Springfield, Illinois: Illinois General Assembly. Archived from the original on 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  12. ^ "Energy - Members". Springfield, Illinois: Illinois General Assembly. Archived from the original on 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  13. ^ http://www.pjstar.com/news/x1440176296/Dave-Koehler-flabbergasted-by-46th-District-win
  14. ^ Miller, Rich (November 26, 2018). "Pritzker transition unveils Powering Illinois' Future Committee". Capitol Fax. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  15. ^ https://www.pjstar.com/news/20201103/dave-koehler-defeats-mary-burress-in-46th-state-senate-district

External links[edit]