State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) was pronounced dead at 1:15 p.m. today, according to Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup. His age was given as 45.
The cause of Bennett’s deathOne DCFS Worker Reinstated After Failing to Act Before Amaria Osby’s Death, according to his wife, Stacy Bennett, was complications from a massive brain tumor. On Friday afternoon, she issued the following statement:
“It is with great sadness that we must inform you of the passing of our dearly loved Scott.
Because it happened so suddenly and unexpectedly, we are still in disbelief.
For all time, Scott will be remembered as a devoted family man and cherished friend.
Any place he entered would be instantly brightened by his quick wit and laughter. His ability to make us laugh, his generosity, and his stories will be sorely missed.
“Scott was a selfless person who was always looking for new ways to aid his hometown and state.
He spent a lot of time and effort trying to establish a middle ground and compromise on society’s most intractable problems. It’s an understatement to say he’ll be sorely missed.
We are so grateful to the whole team at Carle Foundation Hospital for taking such good care of Scott and his family.
We also appreciate the outpouring of love and support. Scott has made a noticeable difference in our neighborhood.
Please understand our need for privacy as we work through this trying time. This month’s SAFE-T Act trailer bill was primarily sponsored by Bennett, who was also an original cosponsor.
The statute is necessary to ensure that everyone in Illinois is treated properly before trial, regardless of their ability to pay, he added.
We were able to preserve the spirit of the Pretrial Fairness Act and guarantee public safety thanks to the efforts of a broad group working together.
To everyone who has worked together to make Illinois safer, my sincere gratitude. Bennett, a native of Gibson City and a former assistant state’s attorney for Champaign County, came from a long line of Illinois law enforcement officials.
After Michael Frerichs was sworn in as Illinois State Treasurer in 2015, he was selected to fill the senate seat Frerichs had held. Frerichs called Bennett “one of my closest friends” and “a lovely husband and devoted parent.”
In a statement issued on behalf of the House Public Safety Working Group, Democratic Peoria State Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth said:
Sen. Scott Bennett’s passing came as a shock to everyone. Senator Bennett’s commitment to his constituents and spirit of bipartisanship were invaluable to the improvement of the SAFE-T Act.
His death is a loss for everyone in New York, but especially for the people he lived among and the friends and family he left behind.
We share the sorrow of all those who knew and cared for Senator Bennett and pray for his family’s healing. Following is a statement issued via Twitter by the Illinois Republican Party:
Senator Scott Bennett’s untimely death has left us all in shock and grief. True to his word, he served the people and did so with integrity.
In this time of sorrow, we offer our sincere condolences to his loved ones.
“I always admired his intellect, passion, and determination for doing the right thing for our towns and the people of Illinois,” said State Representative Carol Ammons (D-Urbana), who worked with Bennett during her entire legislative career.
Deborah Frank Feinen, the mayor of Champaign, eulogized the slain senator as “a relentless champion for our region, always prepared to aid when requested on any matter of concern to the City of Champaign or the community.”
Earlier today, JB Pritzker, governor of Illinois, issued the following statement: Today, Illinois mourns the passing of a man who served his state with distinction and who loved his family deeply.
Scott Bennett, the late senator, was an honorable guy who always put his constituents’ interests before his own.
From his humble beginnings on a farm in Gibson City to his alma mater, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he fought tooth and nail for the causes that meant the most to him during his tenure in Springfield.
As a result of his efforts, the entire state is better off. During this time, MK and I are thinking of his wife, Stacy, and their two wonderful children.
The Democratic chairpersons in Champaign and Vermilion counties will vote on who will replace Bennett. There is a 30-day deadline for the voting.
Until January 2025, when Bennett’s term ends, the appointee will serve in Bennett’s previous seat. The family requests that, at this time, flowers not be sent.
Donations in Senator Bennett’s name will be accepted by a subsequent, yet-to-be-named organization.