State Representative Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) today has taken over the reins as the new House Republican Leader. Tom Cross, who has served in the position since 2003, has stepped aside to pursue another opportunity.
“Tom Cross was a good leader. I wish him the best in his future endeavors and thank him for service to our caucus,” said Durkin.
“It is a privilege to have been selected the new House Republican Leader by my peers and I’m anxious to get to work. Illinois is a great state facing serious challenges. House Republicans have solid ideas on how to solve our fiscal crisis and get residents back to work. Like our neighbors, we want safe schools and neighborhoods, and an end to government corruption. We want to restore pride in Illinois – working together we can get the job done.”
Durkin has served in the Illinois House of Representatives from 1995 through 2002 until he became the Republican nominee for United States Senate. He returned to the General Assembly in 2006 when he was elected to represent the 82nd District—a position he currently holds.
Leader-elect Durkin has a long list of accomplishments as a legislator.
In 2008-2009, Durkin served as the ranking Republican on the House Special Investigative Impeachment Committee that scrutinized evidence against former Governor Rod Blagojevich after he was indicted on federal corruption charges. In the end, the committee recommended impeachment for Rod Blagojevich and barring him from ever holding public office in the future.
In 2011, he led the charge to reform the College Illinois! pre-paid tuition program after discovering the investment program was severely underfunded. His efforts as chairman of the College Illinois Recovery Task Force have helped bring stability to the program.
In 2012, he was also a co-manager of the Select Committee on Discipline which successfully prosecuted State Representative Derrick Smith for abusing the powers of his office and which led to his expulsion from the General Assembly.
Prior to being elected leader, Durkin served as an Assistant Minority Leader, was a member of the Illinois Task Force on Gang Violence, fought to protect children from sexual predators and is a founding member of the Illinois Legislative Diabetes Caucus.
Durkin is a former Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney and former Assistant Illinois Attorney General. He is currently a partner with Arnstein and Lehr LLP.
Durkin received his Bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University and his law degree from John Marshall Law School. He is a resident of Western Springs where he lives with his wife, Celeste, and four daughters.