It seems appropriate the person who represents the same district Abraham Lincoln did in the state Legislature is a co-chairman of the Illinois Bicentennial Commission.

Given Peoria's status as the Center of the Universe, it seems appropriate that person is one of ours, too.

Last week, Gov. Bruce Rauner appointed state Rep. Tim Butler to be one of three co-chairmen for the bicentennial commission. The group is overseeing the celebration of the 200th anniversary of Illinois statehood, which will be Dec. 3.

Butler is from Peoria, a graduate of old Academy of Our Lady/Spalding Institute. The Springfield Republican represents the 87th District in the state House. The district includes a sizable chunk of Tazewell County, including Delavan, Hopedale, Tremont and far-eastern sections of Pekin.

Also leading the commission, which has more than 50 members, are Chicago United CEO Gloria Castillo and Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority CEO Lori Healey.

The Illinois connection runs deep for Butler, who is serving his second term in the House. His great-great-great-great-grandfather, Lewis Barker, was elected in 1818 as the state senator from Pope County, in far southern Illinois.

Butler also sponsored a bill that ensures Illinois Statehood Day is celebrated each Dec. 3.

“For me, the Illinois Bicentennial is personal," Butler stated in a news release. "I’m proud that my family’s roots extend to the very beginning of our state."

The co-chairman position Butler is filling was held by Randy Dunn, the former Southern Illinois University president.

Dunn resigned from his job last month after he was found to have colluded with SIU-Edwardsville officials in boosting a proposal that would have reallocated $5.1 million in state funding to that campus. The money would have been shifted from the budget of the SIU campus in Carbondale.

Nick Vlahos writes “Nick in the Morning.” He can be reached at nvlahos@pjstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @VlahosNick.