Frank Watson (politician)

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Frank Watson
Member of the Illinois Senate
from the 51st district
In office
January 12, 1983 – February 16, 2009
Succeeded by Kyle McCarter
Personal details
Born (1945-07-26) July 26, 1945 (age 71)
St. Louis, Missouri
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Susan Watson
Profession Pharmacist and business owner
Religion Christian

Frank Watson (born July 26, 1945) is an American former politician. He was a Republican member of the Illinois Senate, representing the 51st district from 1983 to 2009, and served as Senate Republican Leader before he resigned that position in late 2008 for health reasons.[1] He was Assistant Majority Leader from 1993 to 2002, and previously served as a State Representative from 1979 to 1982.


Watson received a bachelor of science degree in Pharmacy from Purdue University.[2] After becoming a registered pharmacist, he purchased his family's business, Watson's Drugstore, in Greenville.[1] In 2006, the Watsons sold the store. The Watsons had been operating the pharmacy in Greenville for over 100 years, since the early 1900s.[3] Watson and his wife Susan, a former teacher and business owner, have two children. They live in Greenville, where they grew up, and in West a Palm Beach, Florida.

Political career[edit]

In the state Senate, Republican Watson has often refereed the "rancorous" relationship between Senate Democrats and Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich with the help of House Republican Leader Tom Cross.[4]

Political positions[edit]

Watson disagreed with Blagojevich's 2003 plan to mortgage the state's Chicago office building, the James R. Thompson Center, for $200 million over 10 years to raise funds for that year's budget hole.[5] Watson said he was "really troubled by this" and noted other debts the state had taken on that year, such as a $10 billion bond to shore up state pension funds.[5]


In October 2008, Watson suffered a stroke which was reported to be very minor.[6] On November 4, 2008, he sent a letter to the Republican Caucus stating that he would not seek re-election for the Senate Minority Leadership.[7]

Watson returned to the Senate for one day in late November, where he was greeted by reporters and House Speaker Michael Madigan.[8] Watson said he was in therapy and anticipated a full recovery.[8]

In February 2009, Watson announced that he would resign his Senate seat effective February 16, 2009; Watson said that due to his stroke, he could not effectively carry out his duties for his district. GOP county chairs of the nine counties that make up Watson's district will vote on a replacement for Watson in the Senate.[9] Watson said: "I've come a long way in my recovery, but have a long way to go. That's not fair to my constituents."[1]


  1. ^ a b "Watson Resigning From State Senate". The Greenville Advocate. February 3, 2009. 
  2. ^ Illinois General Assembly - Senator Biography
  3. ^ Allan H. Keith, Historical Stories: About Greenville and Bond County, IL. Consulted on August 15, 2007.
  4. ^ Bernstein, David (February 2008). "Mr. Un-Popularity". Chicago Magazine. Retrieved 2008-11-09. 
  5. ^ a b "Senate GOP leader criticizes mortgaging of Thompson Center". Chicago Sun-Times. 2004-02-14. Retrieved 2008-11-09. 
  6. ^ Illinois Senate Minority Leader Frank Watson suffers stroke
  7. ^ Rich Miller
  8. ^ a b "Watson Returns to Senate For A Day". The Greenville Advocate. November 27, 2008. 
  9. ^ "State Senator Frank Watson Resigns from Senate Will Focus on Health". WGEL. February 2, 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-03. 

External links[edit]