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Illinois House Republican floor leader won’t seek another term in Legislature: ‘I’m choosing to move out’

State Rep. Mark Batinick, R-Plainfield, announced his plans Wednesday on 1340 WJOL. After the radio show, Batinick told a Chicago Sun-Times reporter he “just felt it was time.”

State Rep. Mark Batinick, R-Plainfield, calls for a Republican caucus on the last day of the legislative session in Springfield in May.
State Rep. Mark Batinick, R-Plainfield, calls for a Republican caucus on the last day of the legislative session in Springfield in May.
Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register via AP file

A Will County Republican who had one of the top political jobs in the state Legislature — but didn’t hesitate to reach out to Democrats on issues where he saw common ground — announced Wednesday that he won’t seek another term.

After tweeting out a photo from the old “Eight is Enough” TV show, state Rep. Mark Batinick announced his plans on 1340 WJOL-AM, saying he would not seek a fifth two-year term.

After the radio show, Batinick told a Chicago Sun-Times reporter he “just felt it was time.”

“I did eight years,” the Plainfield Republican told the Sun-Times. “This was never meant to be a career for me personally. I certainly respect people who are there longer and do hard work, and there’s a lot of good people down there, but I’m kind of a ‘move up or move out’ guy, and I’m choosing to move out.”

He said he’s “real proud of the work I did, or tried to do.

“Obviously you always wish you could do more.”

First elected in 2014, Batinick is currently serving his fourth term representing portions of the far southwest and western suburbs including Oswego, Naperville, Bolingbrook, Joliet and Shorewood.

The suburban lawmaker was named the Republican’s House floor leader in January, a post that generally designates the person in charge of the party’s organization or strategy when the chamber is in session.

But Batinick has reached across the aisle during his time in office, recently co-sponsoring a measure that would create a licensing process for the newly created job of certified professional midwives and another that requires the teaching of Asian American history in public elementary and high schools.

Early in the pandemic, Batinick sent a letter to Gov. J.B. Pritzker urging him to require face coverings in public shortly before the Democratic governor implemented a mask mandate for the state.

State Rep. Mark Batinick in 2018.
State Rep. Mark Batinick in 2018.
Rich Hein/Sun-Times file

The suburban Republican said he’s not retiring from politics forever and plans to stay politically active locally.

Batinick, 51, said he could see “another chapter” in about 10 years, closer to retirement, but he has “no big plans for anything like that.”

“I can see another chapter eventually happening, I just don’t see it on the horizon right now,” Batinick said.

He plans to return to the private sector, namely his real estate and contracting business, which he said has “languished” over the last few years.

But before he makes his goodbye speech on the House floor, he said he intends to stay busy.

Batinick said he hopes to spend what’s left of his final term working on property taxes and expanding the state’s pension buyout program as well as smaller legislation on minority contracting and a measure that would create a recall process for public officials, though that’s likely a “long shot,” he said.

Batinick said he never thought of serving in the Legislature as a “longterm career.”

“There was no single thing ... I just felt like it ran its natural course,” Batinick said of his legislative run. “I will say this — not too many people get to just walk away in this business, so I’m happy to be kind of leaving on my own terms with a lot of opportunities on the other side.”