Caulkins vows to put voters first
The significance of the moment isn’t lost on Dan Caulkins.
“Running for public office is not to be taken lightly, especially in Illinois,” Caulkins told the Macon Reporter after formally filing his petitions to run for state representative in the 101st District.
“Everybody is worried about what is going to happen to Illinois; people of the state are very concerned,” the Decatur Republican said. “They want someone who won’t just go to Springfield and become another cog in the machine. With me, they know that won’t happen.”
Caulkins is running to replace retiring Rep. Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) on a platform of “putting the voter first,” and throughout his campaign he’s been willing to put his money where his mouth is.
If elected, he has vowed not to take a salary or any other benefits, insisting that being a part of a movement to get the state back on the right course is payment enough.
“I don’t need to go to Springfield for a job,” Caulkins, a small business owner for the last 25 years, said. “I’m going to Springfield to try to make a difference.”
With the state still mired in a financial abyss even after recently passing a record-setting $36.1 billion budget, Caulkins argues the state can use all the help it can get.
“The state is upside down, and totally broken,” he said. “There is no money to spend, but so much needs to be done. We’re spending money on programs and doing things for people that aren’t even citizens of Illinois. We need to do a better job of vetting who we help.”
Through it all, Caulkins said he remains hopeful.
“I’m an optimist, and I think I and other right-minded people can make a difference,” he said. “There will be at least 25 new people coming to Springfield in 2018. If you’re running for office, talking with people, you have to know how bad things are. As a group, I believe we have the power to change things in Springfield.”
The 101st House District covers parts of Champaign, McLean, Dewitt, Macon and Piatt counties.