Meet President Cullerton

North Side state Sen. John Cullerton won the sweepstakes to replace Emil Jones in what is a victory for Richard M. Daley and state House Speaker Michael Madigan and a loss for Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who is not a happy camper today.

So who is John Cullerton? A lawyer and lobbyist, natch!

Cullerton is a partner at Thompson Coburn, where, according to a resume available on the firm’s website, he specializes in:

* Government relations work with respect to real estate tax assessment and real estate tax appeals

* Zoning, land use and annexation

* Licensing and permit applications before local governments

* Procedures and advocacy strategies for clients with matters being considered by legislators, regulators and policy makers.


And there’s more.

* John has been successful in obtaining for clients: tax increment financing, tax abatements, special service areas, enterprise zones, special tax classifications, sales tax sharing agreements and industrial revenue bonds.

* John also appears before the Chicago City Council, all state and local governmental regulatory agencies, local real estate tax assessment boards, and negotiates for clients with Aldermen and Alderwomen throughout Chicagoland.

Or to put it more clearly:

“Cullerton is a lobbyist registered with the City of Chicago, and has in the past registered as a lobbyist with Cook County, Illinois. Cullerton lobbyist clients include real estate developers, restaurants, and the National Safety Council.”


Cullerton is a Chicago native wise in the ways of local political pathways. After graduating from Loyola’s law school, he worked as a public defender for five years before joining Fagel and Haber (which is now part of Thompson Coburn), according to his official biography.

Cullerton won election to the Illinois House in 1979, where he worked as Michael Madigan’s floor leader. In 1991, he was appointed to the Illinois senate seat vacated by Dawn Clark Netsch; a year later he won the seat outright.

The move to the state senate caused a “falling-out” with Madigan, according to the Tribune, but “the rift has largely healed.”

In 1994, Cullerton “ran” against the embattled Dan Rostenkowski in the Democratic primary in order to preserve the seat for Rosty and prevent independent challenger Dick Simpson from winning.

“Mr. Cullerton, who is 45, initially said he would run only if Mr. Rostenkowski did not,” the New York Times reported at the time. “Then he announced that he was running because if he did not, Mr. Simpson would win – something the Chicago machine did not want to happen. Today, the machine dispatched hundreds of precinct captains to push and pull every last vote for Mr. Rostenkowski and the clout he has in Washington.

“Mr. Cullerton said everyone knew about Mr. Rostenkowski’s troubles but apparently overlooked them because ‘he brings home the bacon.’

“‘It’s a great victory for him,’ he said.”

As the Times noted, Cullerton spent most of his “campaign” attacking Simpson.

Just to complete his Machine credentials, Cullerton is an investor in Tavern on Rush.

Cullerton brags on his website about how many bills he’s sponsored, but his top legislative concern listed there is Traffic Safety.

Cullerton did sponsor the statewide ban of smoking in public places, and he’s been a strong advocate of gun control.

“[He once] individually mailed thousands of spent bullet casings to North Side residents,” the late Steve Neal once wrote. “Each envelope was personalized to suggest that they had better run for cover. Beneath the return address were the words: ‘Shots fired near the’ home of the bullet recipient who was identified by name and address.”

Now that I like.


6 responses to “Meet President Cullerton

  1. Unindicted Co-conspirator

    Hmmm, his #1 issue is traffic control & he’s yet another gun control freak.
    I guess we’ve got a younger version of Berny Stone running the State Senate.
    Flee, flee to Wisconsin!

  2. First of all his number one issue is not traffic control. It highway safety, like requiring children to be in carseats and wearing seatbelts, the state has saved a lot of money in accident related costs with each of the safety measures he has helped implement as a public servant. Secondly what is wrong with gun control, he doesn’t want to take away the guns of law abiding sportsmen. Yes the procedure for obtaining new guns may be more tedious but it is for the safety of our families, children and state as a whole. And lastly, if you read what is on his agenda as senate prez the first thing is a capital plan to improve our infrastructure and provide new jobs to the state. How is he going to do this, he will probably change our states tax code and raise taxes on chicago millionaires like himself. One more thing, he and Rosty did not get along, he was in no way holding the seat for Rosty. And Dick Simpson had no chance.

  3. Unindicted Co-conspirator

    WOW, Herlin, it’s always let the “sportsmen” keep their guns, but never the law abiding citizen that wants to protect themselves in their own homes!
    Exactly what’s sporting about shooting animals for fun?
    And of course “the children”, always “the children” are brought up in these arguments!
    What about the knives in your kitchen, matches, the gas in your car, all of those things are a danger to “the children”?
    Guess what?
    I’m an adult, I want the legal ability to possess a handgun in my home so I can protect myself if that need were to arise.
    So far, every municipality in Illinois has realized the futility of fighting this Supreme Court decision except for Chicago, Oak Park & Morton Grove.
    We should make the politicians in these cities pay for the useless defense of these unconstitutional laws out of their own pockets, not the taxpayers!
    And if you don’t know it, all of our elected politicians granted themselves the right to possess handguns in their homes & to carry such weapons, concealed on their bodies when they go out.
    I’ll bet you don’t know that Chicago aldermen get an actual metal star to carry that looks just like a Chicago Police star & gives them full police powers as a “peace officer”!

  4. Pingback: ArchPundit | When You Best the Third Guy 2 to 1, You Aren’t the Stalking Horse

  5. Pingback: Cullerton and Rosty « Division Street

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