A native of Chicagoland, Senate President John J. Cullerton earned a bachelor's degree in political science from Loyola University Chicago, as well as a Juris Doctorate from Loyola University's prestigious School of Law. While a student, he served as President of the Loyola University Chicago Student Bar Association.
Cullerton began his career in law by serving as a Cook County assistant public defender for five years before he went into private practice. He currently is a partner with the law firm of Thompson Coburn, LLP.
In 1979, he was elected to the Illinois General Assembly and served as a member of the House of Representatives for 12 years. Throughout Cullerton's 6-term career in the Illinois House, he served as Speaker Pro Tempore and Democratic Floor Leader.
In 1991, he was appointed to fill Dawn Clark Netsch’s Senate seat. The following year Cullerton was elected to the Illinois Senate, representing the state's 6th Legislative District. Cullerton served as Democratic Co-Chairman on the Senate's Judiciary Civil Law Committee. He also served as Vice-Chairman on the Insurance Committee, as well as a member of the Judiciary Criminal Law Committee and the Revenue Committee. Cullerton served as the Senate Majority Caucus Whip from January 2007 through January 2009.
On January 14, 2009, Cullerton was elected to his first two-year term as President of the Illinois Senate. In this capacity, Cullerton led the Senate during the impeachment trial and removal of former Governor Rod Blagojevich.
Since then, Senate President Cullerton has labored to change the political tone of Springfield by encouraging bipartisanship and cooperation among leaders.
In 2015, Cullerton was reelected Senate President of the Illinois Senate. He now presides over one of the largest Senate caucuses in America and one of the largest Senate Democratic caucuses in the history of Illinois.