101st District hopeful cites costs, lack of compromise in abortion bill enactment
Dan Caulkins knows that supporting Gov. Bruce Rauner’s 2018 re-election effort will be more difficult after he enacted abortion expansion bill HB40.
“This is really disappointing,” Caulkins, running to replace the retiring Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) in the 101st District, told the East Central Reporter. “He said he wasn’t going to sign this bill; that’s what he told members of the Republican caucus. It just doesn’t make sense. My position has been and continues to be: Taxpayers shouldn’t have to fund abortions.”
Illinois residents on Medicaid or those working for the state will now receive free abortions for any reason until the last day of their pregnancy. Before now, Illinois law stipulated that Medicaid recipients were eligible for abortions only in cases of rape, incest, and health and life of the mother.
Caulkins said the law came about because of the lack of bipartisan cooperation.
“If the governor had worked with Republicans and talked to people, maybe we could have worked together,” he said. “I don’t know what exactly we could have done here, but part of the problem in Springfield is there is no compromise. We just have Democrats running roughshod, and until we get enough strong Republicans, we will continue to see these same kinds of bills.”
Caulkins also worries that the new law could add millions more to the already cash-strapped state’s debt load.
“Unpaid bills are already at around $15 billion,” he said. “We’ve got to find ways to cut spending at this critical time. It’s like giving your kid an allowance and something happens in your family and you have to take it back. Everyone’s tightening their belt because of the tax burden, but I don’t see government doing it, and it’s frustrating and explains why people are leaving the state.”
Caulkins said much of his time is now filled with working on his campaign and meeting voters, all with the aim of going to Springfield and making a difference.
“I’m optimistic the right mix of a lot of new people can still go there and work together to do the things that will get the state back where it belongs,” he said.
Rauner is the first governor to sign off on taxpayer funding of abortions.