Caulkins thinks re-stalling Madigan is a mistake
Newly elected state Rep. Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur) says that re-installing House Speaker Mike Madigan sends all the wrong signals.
“I don’t know if Madigan can be part of any solution for this state,” Caulkins told the Chambana Sun. “In that sense, his re-election to a position of leadership delays what we all know needs to happen, and that is something Illinois can’t afford given its dire straits.”
By an overwhelming vote, House members re-elected Madigan despite the veteran lawmaker holding only a 21 percent approval rating among voters across the state.
Caulkins, who won nearly 70 percent of the vote in his landslide win over his Democratic opponent, Jen McMillin, in the 101st District in November, said those numbers are more than well-deserved given Madigan’s faulty history of leadership.
“He has the reputation of being a political person, someone who is quite rigid and doesn’t know how to change,” he said. “That’s not what this state needs right now in trying to put itself back together.”
According to the Illinois Policy Institute, Madigan’s re-election continues a string that has seen him in power in Springfield in 34 of the last 36 years, prompting Caulkins to wonder what can change for the state when the same things keep happening.
“Over time, I hope that the large number of freshmen legislators now here will be able to have some influence in being able to change the tone,” he said.
Caulkins added he thinks the first order of business for the new session should be about getting the state’s finances in order.
“I think coming up with a balanced budget should be at the top of our list,” he said. “We need to come with a way to spend less than we take in. I know that’s not a novel approach to most, but you wouldn’t know it considering Springfield’s history.”
The 101st House District spans parts of Champaign, DeWitt, Macon, McLean and Piatt counties.