Sen. President John J. Cullerton

SPRINGFIELD — Eleven years ago I was honored to be chosen as the leader of the Illinois Senate. I came to the job with great optimism and enthusiasm, ready to tackle the challenges confronting Illinois, and with great expectations for moving forward to solve some of the crises our state faced.

I’ve had the pleasure to work with a body of Senate members who were equally resolute in moving Illinois forward and making the changes necessary to grow our economy and build a better future for our children and our communities.

With great accomplishments, and yes, some setbacks, for the last 11 years I can humbly brag that we have made great strides. Our list of accomplishments includes:

  • Two capital bills
  • Marriage equality
  • Abolished the death penalty
  • School funding reform
  • Pension reform
  • Immigration reform

During a time when our efforts were challenged on many fronts, we found ways to reach across the aisle, and through compromise we worked together to get our job done. One of the highlights of my career was working with Republican Leader Christine Radogno to try to bring to an end the state budget impasse.

During my tenure as State Representative and Senator, my focus was on the local district. But once I became Senate President, my primary focus was redirected to the Senate Democratic Caucus.

Our meetings were fun, inspiring, challenging, heart-wrenching, primal and revealing. Finding ways to keep my team united have been some of my proudest and most interesting moments.

I’m ready to embark on a new course. I’ve been promising my wife, Pam that I would retire:
- after 39 years of duty ...
- when I turn 70 ...
- when we had a Democratic governor ...

So now, after 41 years in the legislature and 40 years of marriage, I’m finally going to live up to my promise to retire.

In counting our years of marriage, Pam deducts for the days I spend in Springfield, so she will claim we’ve only been married 30 years. Now all that will come to an end and she will have to give due credit to each day together.

I look forward to watching this august chamber and all you will accomplish. As we all know, there will be bumps in the road, but they will be paved over with new ideas and solutions, and a constantly changing body of members who are eager to bring their own vision and signature to our illustrious Illinois Senate.

Thank you to my family, my friends, and my constituents, whose support and encouragement will always be the backbone of my efforts.

And thank you to my wonderful staff who have kept me on track for the last 11 years. I owe much of my success to their constant vigilance, their professionalism and their humor throughout it all.

Note: This will be effective in January. A specific date has not been set.