Caulkins sees signs of return to civility in Springfield
Dan Caulkins still holds out hope that Springfield will soon be a different, more civil, place.
The newly-elected state representative in the 110th District recently told the Chambana Sun he was encouraged by the way some lawmakers stepped up to effectively censor Rep. Stephanie Kifowit (D-Aurora) after some argued she crossed every line in her House floor admonishment of GOP lawmaker Peter Breen during a debate over a bill that would raise the amount of eligible damages to up to $2 million for families impacted by a recent deadly Legionnaires outbreak at a state-run veterans home in Quincy.
After Rep. Breen (R-Lombard) had spoken, Kifowit took to the floor to rant “To the representative from Lombard, I would like to make him a broth of legionella and pump it into the water system of his loved ones so that they can be infected, they can be mistreated, they can sit and suffer by getting aspirin instead of being properly treated and ultimately die. We are talking about talking our nation's heroes. We are talking World War II veterans that survived combat, survived war, survived unthinkable situations that they were put in to sit back put their faith and trust in the state of Illinois and have that completely, unabashedly disregarded.”
Caulkins, who was in Springfield at the time for a week of orientation classes after knocking off democrat Jen McMillin with nearly 70 percent of the vote back in November, said what followed gives him hope that things may finally be on the verge of improving enough to make a real difference.
“There’s no question, the message she sent was a disappointing one given that part of where we need to start in getting this state back on the right track is with our so-called leaders learning to be more collegial to one another,” he said. “But I saw her apology and I heard the message many sent to her about that type of behavior not being tolerated. I think the lesson is none of us can afford to be so emotional, and all of us have to think before we speak.”
Caulkins said the overall tenor of many of the meetings he attended throughout the week also struck a more cooperative and hopeful tune.
“We talked about things like the budget, deficit and pensions,” he said. “At some point, I even heard some democrats talking about how we can’t tax our way out of all this, and that is as encouraging as it is surprising.”
The 101st House District spans parts of Champaign, DeWitt, Macon, McLean and Piatt counties.