A Publication of WTVP

Few have given so much and cared so deeply about improving the quality of life in central Illinois as Senator Dave Koehler. That’s why the Institute for Principled Leadership in Public Service at Bradley University is pleased to partner again with the Peoria Historical Society in presenting Senator Koehler with the Henri de Tonti Award honoring outstanding principled community leadership. The Koehler tribute will take place on September 21st in the newly renovated Hotel Père Marquette ballroom, a quite fitting location, since Sen. Koehler was instrumental in securing $8 million in historic state tax credits for the project that created hundreds of construction jobs for local workers.

Dave Koehler’s whole life has been devoted to principled public service. He was first elected to public office as a Peoria County Board member, a seat he held from 1982 to 1988. He went on to serve on the Peoria City Council from 1989 to 1997, was elected to the Illinois State Senate in 2006, and was recently re-elected to a third term. Known for his integrity, hard work, strong bipartisan relationships, and passion for helping citizens and communities, Sen. Koehler is a well-deserving recipient of the Henri de Tonti Award.

I have witnessed firsthand Sen. Koehler’s willingness to go above and beyond with his tireless efforts on behalf of the Peoria Riverfront Museum. First, he was able to get the sales tax referendum legislation passed during a veto session—a hard feat to accomplish—and then got former Governor Blagojevich to sign the bill just five days before he was arrested! When the museum partners and the Peoria County Board reached an impasse during final negotiations, he and Sen. Dale Risinger served as intermediaries for an entire day until an agreement was reached. Finally, realizing the important educational, cultural and economic development impact the museum and Caterpillar Experience would have on this region—and the great construction jobs it would bring during a tough economic recession—he worked with his fellow legislators in a bipartisan way to secure $5 million for this landmark project.

Sen. Koehler’s passion for making good things happen extends to the Levee District in East Peoria and the Veteran’s Drive ring road in Pekin, the Heartland Community Health Clinic and the U of I Cancer Center, the renovation of Westlake Hall and new construction at Bradley University, and many other key projects throughout central Illinois. Improving education, providing access to quality healthcare and championing important infrastructure projects have been top priorities for Sen. Koehler. His hard work and ability to form strong relationships across the political aisle have brought great results to the region.

In the course of my career, I‘ve had the opportunity to work with many elected officials, and in my opinion, Senator Dave Koehler is one of the very best. He is a strong role model for the kind of ethical, bipartisan and civil public service leaders that the Institute at Bradley University seeks to develop. Please join us at the Henri de Tonti Celebration on September 21st, where former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and Illinois Senate President John Cullerton are among the invited speakers who will pay tribute to Sen. Koehler. For more details or to register online, visit iBi