Caulkins says Springfield not what he expected
Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur) arrived in Springfield as the new state representative of the 101st District only a few weeks ago, and already he says he feels stupefied.
“I don’t know if Springfield changes people or if so many of them are just saying whatever they think they need to get there, then just being themselves,” Caulkins told the Chambana Sun. “Personally, I don’t know what’s so important about being a state representative that you can’t stay true to yourself. People campaign on reforming the system of government, then get to town and it’s something else entirely.”
Caulkins said he wonders if public corruption in Illinois now runs so deep that fewer and fewer lawmakers can actually be taken at their word. He points to a new University of Illinois-Chicago analysis that finds over the last four decades more public officials from the Chicagoland and northern Illinois area have been jailed on federal corruption charges than in any other part of the country.
According to the Illinois Policy Institute, from 1976 to 2017, there have been 1,731 federal corruption convictions across those parts, or roughly more than 400 more on average than in Los Angeles and New York City.
Caulkins, who defeated Jen McMillin, a Democrat, in November with nearly 70 percent of the vote, says that 2019 has already gotten off with a bang with the federal indictment of Chicago Ald. Ed. Burke, the city’s longest-serving public official, on extortion charges.
“Chicago has been known for corruption for decades,” he said. “The real issue here is why the people of Chicago continue to vote in the same crooks terms after term and accept all that they do. That’s what’s damning, because it’s been happening for so long everyone knows what’s happening.”
The 101st House District spans parts of Champaign, DeWitt, Macon, McLean and Piatt counties.