Former GOP leader Watson retiring from Senate

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Former Illinois Senate Minority Leader Frank Watson is retiring to focus on recovering from an October stroke.

The 63-year-old Greenville Republican will resign on Feb. 16. A successor will be chosen by GOP county chairmen in the senate district.

Watson suffered a stroke Oct. 17 while campaigning. He stepped down as GOP leader to concentrate on recovery and now says it's best he devote full time to it.

A member of the General Assembly since 1978, Watson says he's proud of his involvement in creating a state-assisted school construction program and medical malpractice reform.

Watson was a frequent critic of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, and he says he wanted to stay in his seat through the Democrat's impeachment trial, which ended Thursday with Blagojevich's ouster from office. He says taxpayers suffered under Blagojevich and "I wanted to be there to put my 2 cents in."

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