The Elmhurst College Governmental Forum brings together the state’s foremost governmental and civic leaders, business experts and policy analysts to discuss Illinois’ most important economic and governance issues. In previous years, the Governmental Forum has welcomed former Illinois governors James Thompson and Jim Edgar, Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives Michael J. Madigan and Business Roundtable President John Engler, among many others.
John J. Cullerton
John J. Cullerton (D-Chicago 6th) has served in the Illinois General Assembly for more than three decades. He has built a reputation as a keen negotiator and a legislator who seeks bipartisan compromise to achieve the best policy outcomes possible. Cullerton received both his undergraduate and law degrees from Chicago’s Loyola University. After law school, he began his public service career as an assistant public defender in Chicago. In 1978, Cullerton was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives. Throughout his six-term career in the House, he served as the speaker pro tempore and Democratic floor leader. He was appointed to the Illinois Senate in January 1991, and a year later Cullerton won election to the Senate, representing the state’s 6th Legislative District.
Cullerton has distinguished himself as a national leader on traffic safety policy. He spearheaded the state’s mandatory safety belt law, the Child Passenger Safety Act and the statewide smoking ban to promote healthy environments. On Jan. 14, 2009, Cullerton was elected to serve as Senate President during the 96th General Assembly. On his first day in office, Cullerton began a Senate impeachment trial that ultimately led to the removal of a sitting governor. After a successful session of historic reforms, Cullerton was re-elected to second and third terms as president of the Illinois Senate. He now presides over the largest Senate Democratic caucus in America and the largest Senate Democratic caucus in the history of Illinois. In addition to his work in the General Assembly, Cullerton is a partner at the Chicago law firm Thompson Coburn LLP. He and his wife, Pamela, live in Chicago and have five children.