Reporting from Jim Meadows was used in this story.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has named a former Democratic state representative from central Illinois to be the state's new Director of Agriculture.
If he's confirmed by the state Senate, Bob Flider will take over at a department that hasn't had a permanent director since October.
Flider served eight years in the Illinois House, losing a 2010 re-election bid by 600 votes of more than 30,000 cast. Since then, he's worked for the Partnership for a Connected Illinois, which looks to promote broadband service in rural areas of Illinois.
The partnership's executive director, Drew Clark, says Flider is a good fit for the ag director's role.
"Bob’s from Mt. Zion, and served for many, many years as mayor and as state representative," Clark said. "He has deep roots in Illinois in the agricultural communities. His daughter is in a fourth-generation farming family."
Flider was the mayor of Mt. Zion from 1995 to 2003, and started his career as a reporter with the Mattoon Journal-Gazette and Charleston Times-Courier. In a statement issued through Broadband Illinois, he says he’ll continue to promote improved technology access in rural areas.
In a news release, Gov. Quinn called Flider a "tireless, effective leader for rural farming communities." Flider is quoted in that statement as saying he wants to work with farmers and the state's agri-business sector to help meet the governor's goal of doubling state exports by 2014.