SPRINGFIELD (The Center Square) – Two Illinois state lawmakers who recently won reelection have announced they won’t continue into the new General Assembly.
State Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) announced Monday he will retire from the position at the end of the term on Jan. 10. He just won an uncontested race in his district. Barickman said in a statement he looks forward to spending time with family and not being taken away by phone calls.
“During my time in office, I have had the opportunity to play a role in historic changes in our state,” Barickman said in a statement. “My passion has been to serve as an independent voice in favor of limited and responsible governance for our State. I’ve tried to demonstrate that there is space for independent and thoughtful representation, even in our increasingly polarized political climate.”
Senate Minority Leader Dan McConchie (R-Hawthorn Woods) praised Barickman’s tenure in the legislature.
“In short, Senator Barickman was never simply a politician, but a statesman,” McConchie said. “The Illinois Senate will miss his presence and his impact on our great state.”
Tim Butler to become Railroad Association president
Last month, state Rep. Tim Butler (R-Springfield) announced he’ll be stepping down to become the president of the Illinois Railroad Association. He said the opportunity arose only a few weeks before he made the decision.
“And opportunities don’t always line up with our election calendars. They just don’t,” Butler told WMAY. “And especially in Illinois when we have to run for office, I run every two years as a rep. And when you have to file so early and you have to campaign so much, I wasn’t thinking about this when I had to file a year ago.”
By retiring at the end of the year of his term, Butler’s move to a lobbying group won’t trigger the six-month revolving door prohibition for lawmakers becoming lobbyists.
“There are some pretty large loopholes on this,” Butler said. “So going forward, someone in this position, it doesn’t carry over to the next General Assembly, so if you step down in the last few months, there’s not the six-month [prohibition], it’s only until the next General Assembly.”
When a lawmaker retires before the end of their term, local officials from the legislator’s political party select a replacement to fill the term, not voters.
Embattled Illinois Democrats yet to resign
It’s a different story on the other side of the aisle. Embattled Democratic state Sens. Michael Hastings (D-Frankford) and Emil Jones III (D-Chicago) both won uncontested reelection bids and haven’t announced their retirement. Hastings faces abuse allegations that he denies. Jones was recently charged with bribery. He pleaded not guilty.