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.
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.
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 the 100th General Assembly, Jim worked tirelessly with members on both sides of the aisle to successfully negotiate a new education funding formula for our state. Now the law of the land, Senate Bill 1947 ensures that all students across Illinois receive adequate and equitable school funding regardless of where they live or income status. Jim was also the chief sponsor of Senate Bill 1722 which now gives judges the ability to crack down on repeat gun offenders by giving harsher penalties. This measure will reduce gun violence plaguing communities across our state.
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 throughout the last two decades.
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 John Marshall Law School Board of Trustee’s, 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.