SPRINGFIELD – Today, the Illinois Senate Republican Caucus elected Senator John Curran (R-Downers Grove) to serve as the Senate Republican Leader by a unanimous caucus vote.
Curran gave the following remarks.
Illinois Senate Republican Leader John Curran
January 11, 2023
Thank you, Gov. Pritzker and thank you to everyone for joining us here today in this celebration of our democracy.
Six years ago, I was a lawyer enthusiastic about public policy when I was appointed to fill the seat of my friend and the first female leader of an Illinois caucus Christine Radogno. I never imagined that my journey would lead me here to this historic place, at this revered podium, where so many memorable speeches were given. I assure you, this speech will not be one of them.
It is moving and a bit surreal to be honored with the confidence of my colleagues to lead us on our new path. Thank you.
This is one of the countless experiences that would never be possible without the support of my partner in life and love, my wife Sue. She, and so many other spouses in this great room today, do the real hard work behind the scenes so we can serve our districts here in Springfield. I am so proud of her and our four daughters whose talents and potential far outpace my own. I ran for office because young Illinoisans like them deserve a future with great opportunity for all.
I am also thinking of my parents, Tom and Margaret who were born in Ireland and met here in the Great State of Illinois. It is their hard work, perseverance and hope that paved my own road to the American dream.
Like many children around the world and right here in Illinois, my father was forced to drop out of school too young, to support his family.
At thirteen, he was sent from their small country farm to live in Galway City to work at a store during the week, and on a local farm on the weekends. Instead of going to school he was working to send money back home to help pay for his sister’s tuberculosis treatment.
At the age of eighteen he pioneered to America alone, with no family, too little money, and the hope of a better life.
He worked as a carpenter and married my mother who had been weaving her own story of immigration from Ireland. While my father worked on becoming a home-builder, my mother was building our own home raising seven children. They didn’t just support our family here in Illinois, but went on to sponsor three of my father’s brothers for U.S. immigration and help get them all established here in the Great State of Illinois.
I wish that my parents and sister Marie were watching from these special seats, instead of heaven’s, but I feel their Irish spirit of love and light here today.
I’d like to thank the people of the 41st District who honor me with the opportunity to represent them in the Illinois Senate. They remind me of the nobility of public service and their votes for and against me continue to make me a better advocate for our community and our democracy.
Finally, thank you to Senate President Don Harmon for your dedication to the state of Illinois. I look forward to working with you in the year ahead.
Our democracy was designed to allow us to make a difference – even through our differences. In this spirit, Illinois is better served when our public policies are crafted from two, not one, participating parties. As legislators, I believe we can best respect our principles by sharing them with the other side and taking the time to listen and learn why they are important to the constituencies we represent.
Regardless of the letter next to our name, we are all here to do one thing – create a better Illinois.
That means that all legislators, not just the majority, are here to represent our constituents through creating strong, practical public policy. There are millions of Illinoisans who support the Republican principles of freedom and economic opportunity for all. It is my job as Leader to ensure that their votes and their voices are represented, and our caucus takes our role in that process very seriously.
There is a lot of talk about division in our politics and our state. While it may seem new, Illinois has overcome many challenges of division before. What matters right now are solutions.
Illinois families and businesses are facing great challenges. Inflation, unemployment, over-taxation and childcare challenges are affecting our job creators and our job seekers. Communities continue to suffer from the great emotional and economic toll of the pandemic-related crises.
If you are an Illinoisan, whether you’re from a farm or a flat, you have the right to be represented fairly and freely in our state government. That means as legislators, we must come together and lead by example to create a government that is just as effective for our Southern Illinois working mothers as it is for our Northern Illinois laborers.
Our agenda is focused on helping Illinois families and job creators rebuild and renew opportunity in Illinois. We need real, substantive and sound economic policies that are going to help improve the lives of the people in our state.
We will be thoughtful and genuine in our attempts to find opportunities to collaborate on behalf of the families and employers of Illinois. And we will continue to be steadfast in our voiceful opposition to misplaced policies that will hold our citizens and job creators back.
It is important for legislators to listen to and respect each other’s principles to better understand the needs of the districts outside of our own. I know through experience that with collaboration we can make real, true improvements to help reestablish Illinois as one of the greatest places to live, work and raise a family.
Unfortunately, progress is not always easy or quick. A true bipartisanship government will not be created overnight.
As the Irish say, “the longest road out is the shortest road home.”
It has been a long and difficult road for our party, our state and our world.
But the only way to move forward is to move on.
Today, January 11, 2023, the Illinois Senate Republicans are proudly facing the future.
Our caucus of innovative and dedicated public servants is moving forward for all Illinoisans – together. One idea, one meeting, one policy at a time.
Like my fellow legislators, I am also inspired by one of the world’s wisest Republicans, President Abraham Lincoln. And so, I will leave you with his words that are far better than my own:
“With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in.” Thank you. God bless you. God bless the Great State of Illinois.”