DECATUR (Heartland Newsfeed) — Dan Caulkins says his willingness to represent the residents of Illinois’ 101st House District without getting paid for it has hit a resounding note with people.
“The fact that I won’t be taking a salary or benefits and that I’m not looking for a career means something to these voters,” Caulkins said in a recent interview. “I tell them I’m going to Springfield to be your voice. I’m not going to just be another employee of the state.”
Caulkins, who is 70 and has lived in Decatur for more than 50 years, is hoping to replace Rep. Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth), who has decided not to seek re-election in 2018.
Part of Caulkins’ pledge to voters is that his politics won’t be anything like Mitchell’s when it comes to certain issues.
“There’s no way I would have voted in favor of that 32% income tax hike,” he said of the newly enacted $36.1 state budget that carries the highest increase in personal income tax in state history.
Mitchell joined 14 other House Republicans in voting to override a veto of the tax by Gov. Bruce Rauner.
“I’m not one of those people that tells you one thing, then does another,” he said. “I’m not going to bend or flip, and I can’t be bought or intimidated. I think that’s refreshing to voters.”
Caulkins last served in public office in 2009 as a Decatur councilman and says his principles have not changed.
“I’ve always believed being a state representative is not a job but a public service,” he said. “I also think there should be term limits. You don’t want to stay too long and outlast your effectiveness. I’ve already committed myself to just two terms, or six years.”
As for now, Caulkins, who also served more than two decades in the military and more recently ran the family’s business of group homes for developmentally disabled adults with his wife, said he plans on staying active spreading his message and listening to the concerns of residents.
“We’re getting calls for speaking engagements and going out in the district collecting signatures,” he said. “Wherever we go, we’re spreading our message of streamlined government and cost-cutting efficiency.”
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