The first in what may be a crowded field has announced his candidacy for 54th District State Senator for the 2018 primary election. Ben Stratemeyer, who is a CPA from Centralia and the is Republican party chairman in Marion County, has announced he is running for the Senate Seat. In his statement announcing his candidacy, Stratemeyer says the Illinois economy is in a tailspin after the income tax increase that was approved earlier this year. Stratemeyer goes on to say he supports term limits, 2nd amendment rights and the right to life for the unborn. Stratemeyer is the first Republican to announce he is running for the seat that will be vacant as current State Senator Kyle McCarter is not running for re-election. It is expected that other Republicans will also run for the seat, which means we will see a race in the March 20th primary election. As of this time, no Democrats have announced they will run for the seat.