Caulkins vows not to take salary, pension or health care, only wants to 'help Illinois recover'
There's a reason why the candidates most strongly supported by Mike Madigan get most of their funding from the longtime House speaker, the Republican candidate for the District 101 state House seat said during a recent interview.
“They have no other allegiance or option for raising money in this political environment because of their alliance with him,” Dan Caulkins told the Chambana Sun. “Being so connected with Mike Madigan means not being able to raise money on your own because so many people have had enough of him and want to see him gone.”
According to the Illinois Policy Institute (IPI), Madigan has contributed approximately $15 million to the campaigns of about 60 legislators he wants to see stay in Springfield. All of the lawmakers tabbed by the longtime politician have also supported his efforts to maintain his speakership.
Taking financial support isn’t necessarily an indictment of a candidate but that doesn’t seem to be the case in each of the deals procured with Madigan, Caulkins said.
“I think it would be extremely difficult to take someone who has already demonstrated independence and manipulate how they choose to govern based on any contribution," he said. "But all of the legislators we’re talking about here have a track for how they see things once they’ve taken the money from Madigan.”
Madigan also serves as chairman of various campaign committees, which gives him access to even more cash and resources, according to IPI.
Caulkins, who is running against Democrat Jen McMillin in the 101st District, said his whole campaign is about being far from the typical politician.
“I’ve already told everyone I won’t ever support Madigan for speaker,” he said.
In addition, Caulkins noted he has also vowed not to take a salary, pension or health care benefits.
“I’m going to Springfield to help Illinois recover and get back on its feet,” he said. “That’s my only motivation for going.”
As for the growing amounts of money now in politics and if it is too much, Caulkins said there is no easy answer.
“There are instances where candidates don’t have enough to get their message out,” he said. “In the end, I would say it comes down to the candidate and what they stand for and what their message is, along with the ability to attract people that believe in you.”
The 101st House District spans parts of Champaign, DeWitt, Macon, McLean and Piatt counties.