With a focus on protecting and strengthening families and communities, Jim Durkin has spent his entire career working for the citizens of Illinois. Jim was born into a large Chicago family of eight boys. Raised in the western suburb of Westchester, Jim and all seven of his brothers graduated from Fenwick High School. He attended Illinois State University and earned a degree in Criminal Justice, and completed his formal education by receiving his Juris Doctor from the John Marshall Law School.
In January 1995, Jim became an Illinois State Representative in the 44th district. In 2002, Jim was the Republican nominee for United States Senate but was unsuccessful in his bid to defeat U.S. Senator Dick Durbin. In 2006, Jim was appointed to fill a vacancy in the 82nd House District and has successfully run for re-election. Jim served as the ranking Republican on the Illinois House of Representatives Special Investigation Committee for the impeachment of Governor Blagojevich in 2008, and in 2012 served as the House Manager for the removal of a sitting member of the Illinois House of Representatives.
In August of 2013, Jim was unanimously selected by his Republican colleagues to fill the vacancy of House Republican Leader and was officially inaugurated by the full House of Representatives on October 22, 2013.
During his tenure, Jim has ensured the state provides a quality education for all children across the state by creating the Invest in Kids Tuition Tax Credit Program and negotiating the state’s education funding formula to ensure equity for all school districts across the state. He has worked to protect families from polluters by shutting down a toxic sterilization plant in his district and creating the strictest standards for ethylene oxide emissions in the nation. Jim continues to fight for lowering property taxes, fixing the state’s pension systems and passing ethics reform to hold elected officials accountable.
Following his graduation from law school, Jim served as an Assistant Illinois Attorney General. Jim continued his public service as an assistant Cook County state’s attorney. While working as an assistant state’s attorney, Jim served in the felony trial and narcotics bureaus. Jim currently practices law in the City of Chicago.
Jim’s dedication to the people of Illinois has earned him several honors. Throughout his career, he has been bestowed several awards and recognitions such as Legislator of the Year (Builders Association, 2016), Friend of Agriculture (Illinois Farm Bureau, 2016), Outstanding Legislator of the Year (Illinois Association of Park Districts 2015 and MS Society of Greater Illinois 2014), Family Legacy Award (Illinois Crime Commission 2014) and several more over the years.
In 2000 and 2008, Jim was State Chairman for U.S. Senator John McCain’s presidential campaigns and served as Chairman for the Illinois Delegation at the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minneapolis. Jim currently serves on the Misericordia Board of Advisors, Giant Steps of Illinois Board of Directors and JDRF Illinois Board of Directors.
Jim currently resides in Western Springs with his wife and family.