State House Republican leader Durkin announces his exit from the General Assembly
State Rep. Jim Durkin, who said in November he was giving up his post as Illinois House Republican leader, is now saying he is resigning from the House of Representatives altogether.
The Western Springs Republican, who represents the 82nd District, said in a letter to John Hollman, clerk of the House, that he will submit his resignation from the House on Tuesday. He said he will not attend Wednesday's convening of the 103rd Illinois General Assembly.
One of his last acts was voting in favor of a bill that would ban the sale and manufacture of certain high-powered weapons in Illinois. He was the lone Republican to vote for the bill, which the Senate is taking up before the new General Assembly convenes.
He said he made the decision to leave "with a heavy heart but a lifetime of great memories."
"After 22 years in the General Assembly, 9 as the minority leader, it is time to give this great responsibility to the next generation of public servants," he wrote.
Thanking the members and employees of the General Assembly, he wrote, "I am eternally grateful to the people of Illinois for entrusting me with their democracy."
Durkin was named the GOP House minority leader in 2013. He was first elected to the state legislature's lower chamber in 1995. He left the House in 2003 when redistricting put him in a fellow GOP incumbent's district, but he ran successfully again in 2006.
In a statement he issued after his decision to step down from his party leadership in the wake of the November election results, which he described as disappointing to Republicans, he also sounded the call for change.
"I began this journey as a voice of moderation and conclude this journey the same way I started, a voice of moderation," he said. "I am proud of all our campaigns who fought hard over the last year. I congratulate all of the Republicans who will now represent these important voices in the General Assembly and fight against the Democratic Party of Illinois."
"It's time for the Illinois Republican Party to rebuild with new leaders who can bring independents back to the party that are needed to bring change to the state," he also said at the time.
In an interview with NBC 5 Chicago, he also blamed former President Donald Trump for Republican losses.
"The Trump factor went too far, and I believe that that was what interrupted part of this red wave," Durkin said.
Despite the disappointing outcome for Republicans, in November, Durkin left a hopeful message.
"To the people of Illinois disappointed with these results, don't give up hope," he said. "Tomorrow is a new day."