Illinois state Rep. Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur)
Illinois House Rep. Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur) believes the state's Republican lawmakers should feel some degree of validation by the results of a new poll that finds voters now value “cleaning up corruption in state government” as a top priority.
“That’s encouraging because Republicans have been saying this for years as it relates to policy and culture,” Caulkins told the Chambana Sun. “I think everyone would agree Republicans have been leading the charge when it comes to ethics reform.”
In a poll commissioned by the Illinois Education Association, frustrated voters indicated that "clean government” is now as important to them as “having high-quality public schools,” “reducing crime” and “lowering taxes.” Researchers found that 69 percent of all respondents gave it a 10 on a scale of 0-10, and 85 percent of them rated it as an eight or better.
Illinois state Sen. Martin Sandoval (D-Chicago)
“This enthuses me to continue to push for ethics reform,” Caulkins said. “All the people behind it based on these kinds of numbers tell you that there is bipartisan support for this in Illinois. I think the people that are voicing their opinions need to be just as loud when they go to the polls to cast their ballots.”
The results of the survey were made public shortly after former Illinois state Sen. Martin Sandoval (D-Chicago) pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges after pocketing $250,000 from one of the state’s biggest red-light camera companies in exchange for favorable voting. Not long after that, an ABC News poll found that Illinois has the most public corruption convictions in the U.S. over the last two decades with 891.
“We introduced legislation in November that could have dealt with some of these issues,” Caulkins said. “Back then, it was all kind of pushed to the side, but maybe now with this groundswell of support it’ll get the attention that it needs.”