The son of a Navy firefighter, Bill Enyart grew up in Illinois instilled with a deep commitment to service and the values of hard work and fairness. He worked alongside his father on the assembly line at Caterpillar – a good job that helped his father take care of his family, but is threatened by unfair trade policies that undercut Illinois manufacturing and the backbone of our middle class.
In 1969, Bill enlisted and reported to Scott Air Force Base for duty. After serving on assignment in Okinawa supporting the Vietnam War, he came back to Southern Illinois and worked his way through college and law school at Southern Illinois University thanks to the GI Bill. In 2000, Bill earned his Master of Science degree in strategic studies from the United States Army War College in Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania.
For more than 30 years, Bill served our community and our country in the military. Following his active duty in the Air Force, Bill served in the Air Force Reserve and then the Army National Guard. He rose to the rank of Major General and was appointed the state's top military commander, where he fought to keep bases and armories open in Illinois, standing up for jobs in the community. As Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard, Bill oversaw the largest Illinois National Guard deployment of troops overseas since WWII. He also led in-in-state disaster response including mobilizing hundreds of troops to assist during last year's record ice storm and flooding in Southern Illinois.
Last June, Bill retired as Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard to run for Congress. He is deeply honored to represent Southern Illinois families in Washington. Bill believes that by applying his military experience, he can help cut through Washington gridlock and bring people together to focus on rebuilding the economy. Bill’s top priorities are fighting for good jobs, sensibly reducing the deficit, and fighting for Southern Illinois values.
Bill is pleased to be serving on the U.S. House Armed Services Committee and the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture because they reflect important facets of Southern Illinois’ economy. Bill views his role as the chief advocate for Southern Illinois jobs. He is deeply committed to protecting Scott Air Base, the largest employer in the district, and will fight to bring critical missions to the base. In addition, Bill is concerned about how Southern Illinois farmers are overcoming one of the worst droughts in decades. He is advocating for a comprehensive Farm Bill to ensure that farmers are not caught in limbo because of Washington dysfunction.
Bill believes that Southern Illinois is blessed with a talented and highly skilled workforce, abundant natural resources, and a powerful sense of community. Bill will stand up against unfair trade practices that make it more difficult for workers, manufacturers and businesses to compete and access new markets. Encouraged by the potential economic opportunity of coal, Bill is working on the strategic advancement of Southern Illinois’ coal industry. Bill is also a life-long hunter and proud gun owner. He believes our 2nd Amendment rights must be upheld.
Bill and his wife, Annette Eckert, a retired judge, live in Belleville where they raised two sons. Dr. Jay Enyart, a Belleville chiropractor, and Alex Enyart, a third-year law student at SIU-Carbondale.