John Cullerton

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John Cullerton
John Cullerton.jpg
Illinois State Senate District 6
In office
1991 - Present
Term ends
January 14, 2015
Years in position 24
President of the Senate
Base salary$67,836/year
Per diem$111/day
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 6, 2012
First elected1990
Next generalNovember 4, 2014
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
Illinois House of Representatives
1979 - 1991
Bachelor'sLoyola University (1970)
J.D.Loyola University (1974)
Military service
Service/branchIllinois National Guard
Years of service1970 - 1976
Date of birthOctober 28, 1948
Place of birthChicago, Illinois
ProfessionPartner, Thompson Coburn LLC
Office website
Personal website
John Cullerton is the Democratic of the Illinois State Senate, representing District 6 and serving as President of the Senate. He was first elected to the chamber in 1990. He previously served in the Illinois House of Representatives from 1979 to 1991.

Cullerton earned his Bachelor's and J.D. from Loyola-Chicago in 1970 and 1974, respectively. His professional experience includes working as a Public Defender in Cook County.

Committee assignments


At the beginning of the 2013 legislative session, Cullerton served on the following committees:

Illinois Committee Assignments, 2013
Committee of the Whole


In the 2011-2012 legislative session, Cullerton served on these committees:


In the 2009-2010 legislative session, Cullerton served on these committees:[1]


Tax hike

Cullerton on tax hike and pension cap

The Illinois State Senate passed a plan for a two point income tax hike, from 3 percent to 5 percent. At the start of the 2011 session, Quinn met with Democratic leaders to speak about passing tax hike legislation in the House. Gov. Pat Quinn is pulling for a hike of at least 1 percent.[2]

Senate President Cullerton said the House is going to have to act first.

"We already passed an income tax out of the Senate," Cullerton said. "So they're talking about getting the vote to pass an income tax out of the House."

House Republicans hesitate to support any tax increase without concessions from Quinn and legislative Democrats.

State Rep Jil Tracy said while there has been talk of Medicaid, workers' comp and education reform, talk isn't going to get many votes.

"I only hope there's been a lot of real reform talked about that's going to be shown in legislation," she said. "I'm not sure."

Tracy said Democrats only want GOP votes as a shield against angry voters.[3]

Budget, 2011

Both Republican and Democrat Senators were concerned that they didn't have enough time to before voting up or down the $1.2 billion in cuts to Gov. Pat Quinn’s introduced $35.4 billion budget.

As the Senate President, Sen. Cullerton sought this vote in a time crunch that made many senators uncomfortable.

“When we make these cuts they are real, and they affect real people,” Sen. Mike Jacobs said. “So we do have to be careful and I do agree with my colleague Senator (William) Delgado that we should go through this list slowly, completely and without an eye on which constituent gets help and what constituent gets hurt, but based on numbers.”

Sen. Matt Murphy said he too was concerned about the small time frame and reiterated his concern that reductions in spending as introduced don’t go far enough.

“I don’t know that that gets us to a point where the tax increase goes away. I think the numbers, the way they run out, will not allow the tax increase to go away if we’re only at 1.2 (billion dollars),” Murphy said.

The state increased the personal and corporate income taxes earlier this year by 67 percent and 45.9 percent, respectively. The tax increases will expire in four years unless the General Assembly votes to extend them.[4]

Expired nominations

Eric Madiar, chief legal counsel to Senate President John Cullerton, sent a letter to Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka in early January 2011, pointing out that 38 gubernatorial nominations expired with the closing of the previous General Assembly, and therefore should not be paid a salary or expenses.

Fifteen salaried and 23 unsalaried positions were up in the air in January 2011, including those of interim Illinois State Police Director Jonathon Monken and interim Illinois Commerce Commission Chair Manuel Flores.

“We in the new Senate cannot take action on that old paperwork. There is no paperwork supporting those individuals to be in office today,” said Madiar.[5]



See also: Illinois State Senate elections, 2012

Cullerton won re-election in the 2012 election for Illinois State Senate District 6. He was unopposed in the Democratic Primary on March 20[6][7] and was unopposed in the general election on November 6, 2012.[8]

Illinois State Senate, District 6, General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJohn Cullerton Incumbent 100% 76,111
Total Votes 76,111


On November 4, 2008, Democrat John Cullerton won re-election to the Illinois State Senate District 6 receiving 73,323 votes, ahead of Republican Jay Valko (21,320 votes).[9]

Illinois State Senate, District 6 (2008)
Candidates Votes
Green check mark transparent.png John Cullerton (D) 73,323
Jay Valko (R) 21,320

Campaign donors


Campaign donor information is not yet available for this year.


In 2008, Cullerton collected $1,133,320 in donations.[10]

Listed below are those that contributed most to his campaign.

Donor Amount
Donald R. Levin $100,000
Harrison & Lois Steans $25,000
Citizens for Viverito $25,000
AT&T $21,500
Comcast $11,334
Cooney & Conway $10,600
Chicago Federation of Labor & Industrial Union Council $10,500
Midwest Energy $10,000
Illinois Education Association $10,000
Association of Midwest Public Insurance Adjusters $10,000
Chicagoland Speedway $10,000
Penn National Gaming $10,000
Michael Heisley $10,000
Harrahs $8,500
Illinois Federation of Teachers $8,000
Association of Beer Distributors of Illinois $7,500
Illinois Venture Capital Association $7,348
Illinois Credit Union League $7,300
Chicago Automobile Association $7,000
Illinois Bankers Association $6,000


Illinois Opportunity Project

See also: Illinois Opportunity Project's Legislative Vote Card

The Illinois Opportunity Project, "an independent research and public policy enterprise that promotes legislative solutions in advance of free markets and free minds," annually releases its Legislative Vote Card, grading all members in both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly on the basis of their support of "pro-growth economic policies that increase personal freedom and reign in expansive government."[11][12]


Cullerton received a score of 37.50 out of 100 in 2012 for a grade of F according to the IOP’s grading scale. His score was tied for the 37th highest among all 59 members of the Illinois State Senate included in the Vote Card.[12]


John and his wife, Pamela, have six children.

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Political offices
Preceded by
Illinois Senate District 6
Succeeded by