Jan 11, 2023 - Politics

Several longtime lawmakers leaving Springfield

Man in a suit

Jim Durkin in 2021. Photo: Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

The 103rd General Assembly is sworn in today, but the bigger story might be who's leaving.

Why it matters: Retirements and elections are driving the departure of several longtime important lawmakers, including:

Jim Durkin: The Republican had already stepped down as House minority leader after the November election. But right after casting a "yes" vote for the assault weapon ban on Sunday, he announced he was also resigning his legislative seat.

  • Durkin spent 22 years in Springfield, the last nine as minority leader. The Western Springs Republican had a front-row seat for major political moments, including the Rauner vs. Madigan showdowns from 2015 to 2019.

Darren Bailey: The bombastic state senator who left his seat in a failed gubernatorial bid got in his parting shots over the assault weapons ban, but the downstate conservative is better known for his efforts to break off Chicago from Illinois.

  • Other longtime lawmakers who left their positions to run for statewide offices include Reps. Dan Brady, Tom Demmer and Avery Bourne.

Greg Harris: Harris chose to retire this year after 22 years, most recently as a majority leader in the House. For years, Harris was the only openly gay lawmaker, and he was instrumental in legalizing same-sex marriage in Illinois.

Patricia Van Pelt: The West Side representative "quiet quit" this week. She won re-election in November, but is stepping down after 10 years before the new legislature is sworn in.

Mike Zalewski: The popular Democrat lost his primary for the 21st district back in June. He served seven terms as a state representative.

Deb Conroy and Delia Ramirez: Conroy and Ramirez won't return to the House after they won other positions. Conroy snagged the DuPage County Chair, and Ramirez is now the first Latina from the Midwest to serve in Congress.

Jacqueline Collins and Antonio Munoz: Two longtime Chicago Democrats retired from the state Senate. Collins served the South Side for 20 years before running unsuccessfully to replace Bobby Rush in Congress. Munoz served Bridgeport and parts of the Southwest side for 24 years.


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