SOUTH HOLLAND | South Holland Village Administrator Patricia Mahon is entering the March Democratic primary race for the 15th District state Senate seat currently held by Sen. James Meeks, D-Chicago.

"I have been approached by numerous individuals and some elected officials over the past several months and asked to consider being a candidate for the Senate seat," Mahon said in a statement issued Tuesday. "I am not by nature a political person, but I do have the background, skills and passion to be a strong advocate for this district."

A spokeswoman for Meeks announced Thursday the veteran legislator and mega church pastor, will not seek re-election.

Mahon was appointed deputy village administrator in South Holland in 2004 and became village administrator in March.

"I'm just an ordinary citizen wanting to make a difference," she said. "As state senator, I will focus on the issues that are impacting our local communities."

Among those issues, Mahon said, are improving public education, with an emphasis on the trades for those who are not college-bound and education funding reform. Mahon said she will also focus on job creation for small businesses.

Mahon described herself as a transportation advocate, saying she supports a third airport in Peotone, the Metra Southeast Service Line, the Interstate 294/Interstate 57 interchange and the Illiana Expressway.

Mahon earned degrees in international studies from Bradley University and from DePaul University's College of Law. She worked as chief legal counsel for a minority- and female-owned professional engineering firm prior to being appointed director of communications and EEO officer for South Holland.

"I knew early on that I wanted Pat to play an important role on our village team, first as a volunteer and shortly thereafter (as) a village employee," South Holland Mayor Don DeGraff said in a statement. "Her energy, passion and creativity, as well as her solid legal knowledge, have been of great benefit to our village."

She also has volunteered and served as a board member of a number of nonprofit organizations and has received several awards from the village and county for her contributions to the community.

Mahon lives in South Holland with her husband of 22 years, Patrick Winston.

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