A native of Chicagoland, Senate President John J. Cullerton began a career in law by serving as a Cook County Assistant Public Defender for five years before he went into private practice. He currently is a partner with the law firm of Thompson Coburn, LLP.
In 1979, Cullerton was elected to the Illinois General Assembly and served as a member of the House of Representatives for 12 years. Throughout his six-term career in the Illinois House, he served as the Speaker Pro Tempore and Democratic Floor Leader.
In 1991, he was appointed to fill Dawn Clark Netsch’s Senate seat. The following year Cullerton was elected to the Illinois Senate, representing the state’s 6th Legislative District.
He led the senate on many issues, serving as the Democratic Co-Chairman on the Judiciary Civil Law Committee, Vice-Chairman on the Insurance Committee, a member of the Judiciary Criminal Law Committee and the Revenue Committee, and as the Senate Majority Caucus Whip from 2007 to 2009.
On January 14, 2009, Cullerton was elected to his first two-year term as President of the Illinois Senate. In this capacity, he directed the senate during the impeachment trial and removal of former Governor Rod Blagojevich.
Since his inauguration, President Cullerton has labored to change the political tone of Springfield by encouraging bipartisanship and cooperation among leaders.
Under his leadership, the General Assembly has passed a major public works construction program, abolished the death penalty, rewrote education laws, legalized gay marriage, and reformed the pension system.