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Caulkins rails against “radical agenda” partially pushed by members of his own party

Monday, Sep 9, 2019

* WJBC

A freshman lawmaker from Central Illinois is seeking a second term after making his mark opposing Gov. JB Pritzker’s agenda.

101st District State Rep. Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur) sent out a news release late Sunday night saying far-left extremists who control the Democratic Party pushed through the most radical agenda in the state’s history.

Caulkins cited passage of a capital bill that doubled the state’s gas tax, 21 other tax increases, and a radical abortion bill.

Um, a whole lot of Rep. Caulkins’ Republican colleagues voted for that “far-left extremist” and “radical agenda” of raising the state’s Motor Fuel Tax. Caulkins is, of course, a member of the Eastern Bloc.

* After the session ended in June, WCIA’s Mark Maxwell interviewed Rep. Caulkins about issues surrounding the capital bill

Maxwell: How would you describe, right now, in 2019, the condition of the roads and highways in your district?

Caulkins: They’re the same as they are throughout central Illinois. We’re no different.

Maxwell: OK, what is the condition in the state, of the roads, the bridges, the transit?

Caulkins: That depends where you live.

Maxwell: You just said two different things.

Caulkins: No, you asked about my district and then you asked about the state, other places in Illinois. And there are places in Illinois where the roads are in fairly decent shape. Take the bypass around Bloomington. Now you go north on Interstate 39 out of Bloomington and there’s some issues. I-55 once you get out of McLean County there’s some issues. But there are places, Champaign, the roads around Champaign, the highways and the interestates. In the townships, there are highways and bridges that need desperate attention.

Maxwell: One of your House Republican colleagues stood up on the floor in the final moments of debate, and said that Illinois is on the verge, if the roads and their conditions continue to deteriorate, Illinois is on the verge of getting the valve shut off of federal funding because we’re so far out of compliance with how safe the roads are supposed to be, that it was really that bad. Wasn’t there some discussion, weren’t you considering at some point staging some sort of protest about the safety of the roads in your district?

Let’s stop the tape for a second. First, notice how he plays down the problems with transportation infrastructure, likely to help justify his “No” vote. Secondly, Rep. Caulkins did at one point talk about holding a “sit-in” or some other demonstration on Interstate 72 to protest the conditions of that roadway. He would’ve been right to do so because parts of that road are in disgraceful condition.

* Now, back to the interview

Caulkins: We were. To your point, I heard that said on the House floor, I have not seen anything to that effect, I don’t know…

Maxwell: Why didn’t you go through with that demonstration?

Caulkins: Pardon?

Maxwell: You were considering this demonstration, you didn’t do it. Why not?

Caulkins: Because the state came along and, this is between the rest stop on the interstate and the Cisco exit, they’ve gone out and they’ve done a lot of patching work and they’ve filled it in temporarily I hope. But at least it’s passable. So IDOT they must’ve heard me.

Maxwell: You were pretty upset about that.

Caulkins: Two, three weeks they came out and they sought out some bad spots and they filled them in with asphalt patches. And I presume that today, actually is a huge day in IDOT, they’re letting bids out for road contracts.

So, a temporary asphalt patch was all it took? What happens when the temporary fix no longer works?

* More

Maxwell: You end up not voting for it. How did you get there?

Caulkins: There was no plan to spend that money, first of all.

Maxwell: You don’t trust the Department of Transportation to allocate those funds?

Caulkins: Do you? I don’t. I don’t trust this government, no.

Well, they went out and patched the interstate, so at least they have that going for them.

* More

Maxwell: How do you then go about putting safeguards in place to make sure those monies are spent the right way? There is a lock box, after all.

Caulkins: With the lock box, but then how do you allocate the money that’s within the lock box. This is the issue that was never addressed, Mark. They’ve asked for $40 billion with no specific plan. If they’d have come out and said ‘We’re going to do the five-year plan,” IDOT has a five-year plan. If the governor and the administration had said, ‘Look, here’s the five-year plan, this is what we need, this is how we’re going to pay for it, let’s talk about it,’ would’ve been a different discussion.

Maxwell: Are you saying that if you had more time to consider all of what was in that $45 billion capital plan you might have voted for it?

Caulkins: Not at 19 cents a gallon, not raising the license fees, not raising the fees that are on the middle class.

Maxwell: Where does the extra money come from?

Caulkins: The money is how do we spend what we have first. Show me what the projects are, show me where the income is. I asked. I asked for three weeks for a meeting with IDOT to come in and talk about what their priorities are, where they intended to spend the money. They didn’t see fit to come and talk with me.

Gee, I wonder why.

* Related…

* Report finds Illinois’ roads deadlier in rural areas

- Posted by Rich Miller        

32 Comments »
  1. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 1:16 pm:

    ===Maxwell: You don’t trust the Department of Transportation to allocate those funds?

    Caulkins: Do you? I don’t. I don’t trust this government, no.===

    Narrator: Caulkins is an elected member of *this* government


  2. - anonomoose - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 1:17 pm:

    I can clearly imagine a laugh track after every response by Caulkins.


  3. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 1:21 pm:

    Does Maxwell offer classes in being patient at the Learning Annex?


  4. - cover - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 1:25 pm:

    = They didn’t see fit to come and talk with me. =

    Why engage with someone who’s going to vote “no” regardless? He’s lucky IDOT is actually doing projects in his district instead of letting that T-shirt guy have his dirt roads.


  5. - @misterjayem - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 1:26 pm:

    “a member of the Eastern Bloc”

    tl;dr- a Bloc-head

    – MrJM


  6. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 1:27 pm:

    Leader Durkin,

    I know you dismissed all these… members… of your own caucus, telling us all it’s about members and districts and knowing the voters and all that mumbo-jumbo folks talk about when keeping a fragile caucus together when more than a handful want to create a new state.

    I get it, I truly do.

    You have a member of your caucus openly questioning…

    ===I don’t trust this government, no.===

    … I mean, sincerely, this member of your caucus is on the record to say… he doesn’t trust this government.

    You have one member worried every 53 seconds that “Red Dawn” will fall, only upon Illinois, and we need to consider that.

    You have others rallying around the idea that the confederate flag is an ok thing…

    You have folks either oblivious that their districts get more money pumped into them than is taken out, or these same folks are overtly lying to people to continue a statewide divide that covertly… is really about racism.

    You have problems in the suburbs, it seems minorities and women aren’t voting GOP there, and Trump isn’t helping one bit…

    But here… we have a member who seemly is less than honest about any of this IDOT stuff… and the brass tax to it… is…

    ===I don’t trust this government, no.===

    At this rate… 44 will be a target for the caucus, a “reach”… instead of an embarrassing measure of where the HGOP is now.

    When you’re ready to make this a statewide party again, and make honest governing to the needs of districts and infrastructure, I’ll be around.

    The loud silence to this phony of your caucus is deafening.


  7. - OutHereInTheMiddle - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 1:33 pm:

    ===Maxwell: You don’t trust the Department of Transportation to allocate those funds?

    Caulkins: Do you? I don’t. I don’t trust this government, no.===

    Some people would argue that step #1 is to get all of the politics out of the decision making process and hire . . . . engineers . . . to determine the best way to fix our infrastructure.


  8. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 1:37 pm:

    ===Some people would argue that step #1 is to get all of the politics out of the decision making process and hire . . . . engineers . . . to determine the best way to fix our infrastructure.===

    Which projects do you feel need not be fixed?

    This patchwork, hodge-podge figuring of what now, when is why a large capital bill is needed now, because fixing things solely on “a needed basis” isn’t keeping up with infrastructure needs.


  9. - Skeptic - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 1:39 pm:

    Since he’s juggling the truth, we might as well point out that I-49 goes through Kansas City. It’s I-39 that goes from Bloomington.


  10. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 1:41 pm:

    “far-left extremists who control the Democratic Party pushed through the most radical agenda in the state’s history”

    Thankfully Democrats caught up with voter sentiment and passed a minimum wage hike, put a graduated income tax amendment on the ballot and legalized marijuana.


  11. - Norseman - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 1:43 pm:

    === Caulkins rails against “radical agenda” … ===

    Typical name calling that pols use when they have no defensible ideas to solving problems. Fortunately for his constituents, responsible legislators and the Governor made the hard choices necessary to address their infrastructure needs. Sadly, most will fall for the siren song of “taxes too high,” and ignore the positive construction that is occurring because of it.


  12. - 47th Ward - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 1:44 pm:

    ===. engineers . . . to determine the best way to fix our infrastructure.===

    If money wasn’t a factor, then yes, let the engineers have at it.

    Unfortunately, we don’t have enough money to do everything they might recommend. That’s why we have politicians make the decisions about how to spend scarce resources, not the engineers.


  13. - Huh? - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 1:47 pm:

    So caulkin wants nice roads but doesn’t want to pay for them.


  14. - Jocko - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 1:49 pm:

    ==saying far-left extremists who control the Democratic Party==

    I thought it was the socialists. /s


  15. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 1:54 pm:

    ===So caulkin wants nice roads but doesn’t want to pay for them.===

    “Would that it were so simple.”

    Throw in this idea that there’s a trust thingy.

    It’s not your garden variety “the other party isn’t as good as we are with your money”

    Nope.

    This crew wants a 51st state, as they don’t trust She-Caw-Go and all those who don’t understand “downstate values”

    This is part of the feeding of worry… don’t trust anyone “not like us, thinks like us”.

    These Eastern Bloc blokes are about anger. They are about feeding it every chance they get, even if the numbers and realities make them phonies.

    Indeed.

    “Would that it were so simple.”


  16. - Rich Miller - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 1:55 pm:

    === It’s I-39 that goes===

    Typo on my part. Changing now. Thanks!


  17. - KMM - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 2:05 pm:

    This is typical Caulkins. I’m sure he’ll show up to the ribbon cuttings. He was infamous as a Decatur City a councilman for opppsing things and then showing up and trying to get in the pictures of the ribbon cuttings.


  18. - Skeptic - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 2:14 pm:

    “Typo on my part.” Rats, thought I had good zing on the guy and it turns out to be an honest mistake.


  19. - Glengarry - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 2:43 pm:

    I can’t wait for a veteran to tell Caulkins to zip it.


  20. - Huh? - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 2:58 pm:

    47th - IDOT engineers do a good job designing highway projects that are economically efficient. IDOT does not like ear marked projects because money often goes to projects that may be a lower priority in terms of need and utility.


  21. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 3:07 pm:

    My favorite?

    The uber-uber-super-minority that Caulkins is a part of… still isn’t a majority of the uber-super-minority that he’s helping run into the ground statewide.

    That part… is my favorite.


  22. - 47th Ward - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 3:10 pm:

    ===IDOT does not like ear marked projects because money often goes to projects that may be a lower priority in terms of need and utility.===

    Who cares what they like or don’t like? Deciding how money is appropriated is the job of the legislature and Governor. IDOT’s engineers have their own job, and they do it well, and they should stick to it and keep their noses out of politics.


  23. - OutHereInTheMiddle - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 3:12 pm:

    OW - I am not arguing against any specific projects. My point is that “we the people” should hire experts, set standards and then let the professionals do their jobs. I believe that there are quantifiable ways to maximize spending an things like road repair and it doesn’t involve who’s donor has to drive over the pot hole.


  24. - 37B - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 3:15 pm:

    Would someone please forward Rich’s 1:55 pm response to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? That’s how it’s done Mr. President: Concede an honest mistake, fix it, and thank the person who pointed it out.


  25. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 3:17 pm:

    ===I am not arguing against any specific projects. My point is that “we the people” should hire experts, set standards and then let the professionals do their jobs. I believe that there are quantifiable ways to maximize spending an things like road repair and it doesn’t involve who’s donor has to drive over the pot hole.===

    Fine.

    “I believe that there are quantifiable ways to maximize spending an things like road repair and it doesn’t involve who’s donor has to drive over the pot hole.”

    Then anyone who voted against it shouldn’t get any funding for any projects. That way if we’re worried about graft or special projects, a member is worried too, then they should rest easy that any dime of waste won’t be in their district.

    You vote no to infrastructure, and keep graft out of my district too.

    See how silly that sounds?

    This is most correct;

    ===Deciding how money is appropriated is the job of the legislature and Governor. IDOT’s engineers have their own job, and they do it well, and they should stick to it and keep their noses out of politics.===

    Voting on projects and lobbying the governor *is* what a legislator is suppose to do.

    Not all projects are measured the same, after safety is already factored.


  26. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 3:38 pm:

    - OutHereInTheMiddle -

    With respect,

    We elect a governor and legislators to make the decisions like these, with the best information they have factoring in safety, transportation advantages, and the politics, and not all ingredients are equal, but safety should be paramount.

    I understand your concern. I even understand the fear.

    Still, the factors are still the factors.


  27. - GOPgal - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 3:58 pm:

    We can assume Dan Caulkins won’t be taking any campaign cash from his caucus leader Jim Durkin who voted for the capital bill. Because I’m sure Dan Caulkins doesn’t want to be an enormous hypocrite.


  28. - Generic Drone - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 4:05 pm:

    Sounds like Caulkins is taking a page out of Trumps’ playbook. Hey. Why not? It’s working so well for Trump.


  29. - Michelle Flaherty - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 4:06 pm:

    – Caulkins: Not at 19 cents a gallon, not raising the license fees, not raising the fees that are on the middle class. –

    I read that to mean Caulkins supports the Vehicle Miles Traveled Tax.


  30. - Rich Miller - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 4:07 pm:

    ===I read that to mean Caulkins supports the Vehicle Miles Traveled Tax===

    I leaned more toward him supporting the progressive income tax.


  31. - Annonin' - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 4:18 pm:

    Is too late to file a malpractice case against the Decatur schools or whoever did the book learnin’ to this EasternBlocHead?
    Seems like a huge refund in order


  32. - Michelle Flaherty - Monday, Sep 9, 19 @ 6:01 pm:

    – I leaned more toward him supporting the progressive income tax. –

    Sheesh. Is there a tax this guy doesn’t like?


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