Join us as we celebrate Jim's commitment to
education at the Building for the Future fundraiser.

With a focus on protecting and strengthening families and communities, Jim Durkin has spent his entire career working for the citizens of Illinois. On August 28, 2017, his work on the Invest in Kids Act made a tax credit program for private schools a reality in Illinois. This is the most significant piece of legislation to fund education in Illinois in decades and will benefit thousands of struggling, economically-challenged and under-served families, giving them a chance to choose their K-12 schools and offering them access to a well-rounded, values-based education. Jim's work to pass the Invest in Kids Act is an incredible blessing to Guerin Prep and to all Catholic schools in Illinois.

Jim was born into a large Catholic family of eight boys. Raised in the Chicago suburb of Westchester, Jim and his seven brothers all attended Catholic schools. He later attended Illinois State University, earning a degree in Criminal Justice. Jim went on to achieve a Juris Doctor from the John Marshall Law School.

Following his graduation from law school, Jim served as an Assistant Illinois Attorney General. Jim continued to serve the people of Illinois as an assistant Cook County state’s attorney. While working as an assistant state’s attorney Jim served in the felony trial and narcotics bureaus. Jim currently practices law in the City of Chicago.

In January 1995, Jim became an Illinois State Representative in the 44th district. In 2002, Jim was the Republican nominee for United States Senate but was unsuccessful in his bid to defeat U.S. Senator Dick Durbin. In 2006, Jim was appointed to fill a vacancy in the 82nd House District and has successfully run for re-election. Jim served as the ranking Republican on the Illinois House of Representatives Special Investigation Committee for the impeachment of Governor Blagojevich in 2008, and in 2012 served as the House Manager for the removal of a sitting member of the Illinois House of Representatives.

In August of 2013, Jim was unanimously selected by his Republican peers to fill the vacancy of House Republican Leader. On October 22, 2013 Jim Durkin was officially inaugurated by the full House of Representatives as the new Illinois House Republican Leader. His first success as Leader was to negotiate and help pass a statewide public pension reform proposal in November 2013.

Jim was unanimously selected to a second term as House Republican Leader by his peers on November 19, 2014 and officially inaugurated by the full House of Representatives on January 14, 2015. Jim’s dedication to the people of Illinois has earned him several honors. In 2015, the Illinois Association of Park Districts named him Outstanding Legislator of the Year. In 2014, the MS Society of Greater Illinois named him Legislator of the Year; the Illinois Crime Commission selected him for the Family Legacy Award; and he was named Public Official of the Year by the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police. In 2001 Jim was awarded Citizen of the Year from Sarah’s INN domestic violence Shelter in Oak Park. The Illinois Crime Commission also honored Jim as Legislator of the Year in 2002. The Operating Engineers Local 150 named Jim Statesman of Year in 1999. In 1997, the Illinois Community College Trustee Association named him Legislator of the year.

In 2000 and 2008, Jim was State Chairman for U.S. Senator John McCain’s presidential campaigns and served as Chairman for the Illinois Delegation at the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minneapolis. Jim currently serves on the John Marshall Law School Board of Trustee’s, Misericordia Board of Advisors, Giant Steps of Illinois Board of Directors and JDRF Illinois Board of Directors.

Jim currently resides in Western Springs, Illinois with his wife and family.

Read more about our scholarship dinner honorees here.