Patrick Joyce from Essex was sworn into office Friday Nov. 9 as state senator for the 40th Legislative District. He replaces Toi Hutchison for the remainder of her term which ends in 2021. The 40th Senate District ranges from southeastern Grundy County, most of Kankakee County, a third of eastern rural Will County and two townships in Cook County.
Joyce visited the Pilot office last Tuesday to discuss his life, his appointment, and his vision for the district.
Rita, his wife of 35 years, works at Shapiro. They have three children. Their daughter Katelyn passed away due to leukemia in 2011.
Joyce is a lifelong resident of Kankakee County, and a 4th generation family farmer in Essex and Reddick. He has known people from the area his entire life and has been involved in politics with his mom and dad. Joyce’s father and mother are former state senators. Jerome Joyce, retired in 1992, and died June of 2019 at age 80. Janet Joyce served the remainder of her husband's term until January 1993.
When asked why he decided to accept this appointment, he responded, “Representation for this part of this district has been lacking for a couple of decades. I have been around it (politics) for most of my life. No one else was stepping to the plate, and I decided to answer the call.”
He is enjoying the challenge of representing his community.
Part of his legislative agenda is appropriating funds to clean up the silt and sand that has come to the Kankakee River from Indiana. He seeks to create a line item on the state budget for continued river maintenance. School funding is also an important issue to Joyce. His goal is to increase state funding thereby reducing the property tax burden.
On March 17th, Joyce faces his first political challengers in the primary election. Democrats who have filed for the March primary include Marta Perales, of Momence, Lori Wilcox, of Chicago Heights, Monica Gordon, of Flossmoor, and David E. Morgan, of Olympia Fields.
Eric Wallance, of Flossmoor, has filed as the only Republican.
Support from this area after his appointment was evident. He had to get petitions signed within three and a half weeks. He needed a minimum of 1000 petitions and turned in 2100.
A small business owner himself, he has been endorsed by AFL-CIO, Laborers Union 751, Kankakee Federation of Labor, and IBEW.
Joyce concludes, “It’s an exciting time to be involved in the legislature. I’m glad to be part of what is going to be a big change over the next four or five years.”