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Senate President John Cullerton Bio

John Cullerton’s tenure as Senate President has been marked by collaborative efforts to solve major problems and push Illinois forward.

His leadership helped preserve economic viability at McCormick Place through needed workplace reforms, ended the state’s scandal-plagued death penalty and established marriage equality as the law for all of Illinois.

He cast the final vote to expel Rod Blagojevich from office, and he was among the first to speak up on the practical need for immigrant motorists to have a legal system to become tested, licensed and insured drivers.

He has emerged as an outspoken advocate of all that is good in Illinois and a tireless consensus builder in trying to resolve what is wrong.

A native of Chicagoland, John J. Cullerton earned a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from Loyola University Chicago, as well as a Juris Doctorate from its prestigious School of Law.

He began his legal career working in the Cook County Public Defender’s office. He is currently a partner with the law firm of Thompson Coburn.

His legislative career began in 1978 when he was elected to the Illinois House. In 1991, he was appointed to the Senate to fill the seat vacated when the trailblazing Dawn Clark Netsch became state Comptroller.

As a member of the Illinois Senate, Cullerton developed a reputation as a pragmatic dealmaker able to reach across the partisan divide to find compromise and get laws passed.

In 2009, John Cullerton was elected President of the Illinois Senate by his colleagues. His first action was to lead the impeachment trial. Since then, President Cullerton has labored to change the political tone of Springfield by encouraging bipartisanship and cooperation.

In 2017, he partnered with then-Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno in pushing a bold series of budget and reform proposals designed to end the economically stifling state budget impasse that had dragged into its third year. Although their efforts were not immediately successful, they ultimately paved the way for the state’s 2018 bipartisan balanced budget agreement.

Sen. President Cullerton

6th District
President of the Senate

Years served: 1979 - 1991 (House); 1991 - Present (Senate)

Committee assignments: Committee of the Whole; Executive.

Biography: Attorney; born Oct. 28, 1948, in Chicago; B.A., political science, Loyola University; J.D., Loyola University Law School; served in Illinois National Guard, 1970-76; former Assistant Public Defender and instructor at the National Institute for Trial Advocacy; married (wife, Pamela), has five children.