Natalie Phelps Finnie to fill Illinois House seat vacated by Brandon Phelps

HARRISBURG, IL – Local Democratic leaders have appointed Natalie Phelps Finnie to fill the Illinois House of Representatives seat vacated by her cousin, Brandon Phelps.

The appointment was announced Wednesday afternoon at an event in the Visual and Performing Arts Center of Southeastern Illinois College.

Brandon Phelps stepped down on Sept. 1, citing health reasons.

The appointment makes Phelps Finnie the first woman to hold the 118th seat, the Benton News reports. A news release sent by the 118th District office on Wednesday about the appointment notes that the Elizabethtown Democrat is a nurse, wife and mother of three. She has spent much of her nursing career as an advanced practical nurse at Gallatin Wellness Center, which is a school-based clinic.

In addition to being Brandon Phelps’ cousin, Phelps Finnie is also the daughter of former U.S. Rep. David Phelps. In a statement sent after Wednesday’s announcement, Massac County State’s Attorney Patrick Windhorst — who is running as a Republican for the 118th District seat — said:

“The 118th District is not the Phelps family seat. Southern Illinois needs change, not more of the same. Our voice in Springfield is too important to be handed down to the next available Phelps family member. Career politicians, political insiders and the Madigan-Phelps machine have gotten us into this mess. We need a conservative outsider to clean it up.”

On her appointment to fill the remainder of the term Brandon Phelps vacated, she stressed her health care experience, saying:

“In my clinic, I’ve seen the challenges we face firsthand. The opioid drug crisis is taking a toll on entire families and communities. When businesses ship our jobs overseas to pad their profits, families struggle to build a middle-class life and young people are often unable to receive basic medical care. Every day I see the faces of the precious children who walk into my clinic, and as state representative I will continue my fight to give them access to the kind of future that every child deserves.”

The 118th District Office says Phelps Finnie will maintain a full-time constituent service office at 607 S. Commercial Street in Harrisburg. To contact that office, you can call 618-253-4189.  The office says she will travel throughout the district for satellite office hours, to meet with citizen advisory panels, and to go door to door to talk with people who live in the district.