Illinois state Rep. Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur) wants to see his colleagues in Springfield get serious about eradicating corruption and fixing Illinois.
“The problem is Democrats don’t believe the voters care and they have this arrogance that it makes no difference what they do because they keep getting reelected,” Caulkins told the Chambana Sun. “They don’t show any interest in reforming the system or policing themselves.”
Such recklessness has come with a price, as a new Harvard University Center for Ethics survey recently concluded that Illinois now ranks as the second most corrupt state in the nation and Chicago holds the dubious distinction of being the country’s most corrupt city. The loss in reputation has also come at a hefty cost, with Illinois Policy Institute estimating that nearly $10 billion in economic activity has been lost since the start of the millennium as a result of all the deception.
Illinois state Rep. Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur)
Over the last month alone, taxpayers have had to endure the spectacle of seeing veteran state Rep. Luis Arroyo (D-Chicago) jailed on federal bribery charges and of watching longtime state Sen. Martin Sandoval (D-Chicago) being forced to relinquish his post as chairman of Senate Transportation Committee after being implicated in an ongoing shakedown scheme.
Not long before that, three political insiders with close ties to longtime Democratic House Speaker Mike Madigan were targeted by federal agents as part of another probe.
“All that and I still don’t think they’re serious about cleaning things up, based on the ethics bill they just put forth that goes nowhere and puts the same people in charge of the commission they convened that has refused to take any action on ethics,” Caulkins said. “We’ve done this commission thing before and it's gone nowhere, despite the fact we’ve had governors go to jail and lawmakers indicted.”
Caulkins says he can easily see why voters feel betrayed, given the platforms so many of his colleagues ran on en route to Springfield.
“We got elected on a promise of cleaning things up, and I don’t know what’s happened between then and now,” he said.