University of Chicago Medicine Breast Cancer June 2022
GOP Floor Leader Batinick ready to ‘pass the baton’

GOP Floor Leader Batinick ready to ‘pass the baton’

By GRACE KINNICUTT
Capitol News Illinois
[email protected]

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois House Republican Floor Leader Mark Batinick, a self-described “policy guy,” came to Springfield with the goal of pushing good policy.

A father of five who resides in Plainfield with his wife, Batinick said after eight years in the General Assembly, it was either time to try and run for something else or to just move on to better manage his time as a family and business man.

“I felt like it was time to pass the baton,” Batinick, who represents the 97th district which includes portions of Oswego, Montgomery, Naperville, Plainfield, Bolingbrook, Joliet and Shorewood, said. “I’m proud of a lot of the things that I was able to accomplish, especially from the minority side.”

Batinick graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 1992 with a degree in business education. After that, he started his own contracting company, which he still owns but is now run by his business partner.

He eventually got his commercial real estate license and has been a real estate agent, mainly dealing with small businesses, during his time in the Illinois House.

When the opportunity arose to run for representative, Batinick decided to go for it, since he said at the time he was a “frustrated business guy.” He said he saw a lot of businesses leaving the state, which gave him a feel for what was going on in his local economy, and he thought he could help.

In 2014, Batinick was elected to the Illinois House, taking office at the beginning of a two-year budget impasse under former Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

As a freshman lawmaker watching the budget impasse unfold, Batinick said he observed that “so much of Springfield was theater,” and he would watch then-House Speaker Michael Madigan keep everyone busy, “acting like all these things were getting done.”

Batinick said rather than hold committee meetings and hearings regarding the budget, lawmakers were instead having debates over “silly little things,” such as how to label fish on food menus or whether to require repainting of school busses to a different color when they are sold used.

His biggest takeaway over the years, especially from watching the budget impasse, he said, is to watch things unfold and remain focused.

“As time has gone by, I’ve done a better job of just watching the roller coaster and making my decisions based on watching instead of personally being thrown about and getting all emotional about every big change,” Batinick said.

In 2019, Batinick was appointed floor leader for the Republican Caucus. The floor leader serves as the spokesperson for the party’s positions on issues and coordinates legislative strategies.

Batinick said without having to worry about defending the governor’s choices, it allowed him more time to prepare and organize. He noted that he had two goals as floor leader – to prepare in advance to help move things a bit faster and to not debate every bill.

On Mondays, usually the day before session begins, Batinick would make the three-hour drive to Springfield, sit at his desk in a quiet House chamber and read through bills approaching final action. His review would determine which bills were of concern to his party, what questions needed to be asked and who would speak on a certain bill.

When he first became floor leader, Batinick said he quickly learned that the role was not to support or oppose bills as an individual, but to vet them instead. Batinick said he once made the mistake of praising a bill but then looked around and saw some of his members were upset because they hated the bill.

As a freshman lawmaker, Batinick said he was given a book by a colleague that talked about vetting bills to push good policy, and he used that knowledge when it came to approaching bills as floor leader.

Democratic House Leader Greg Harris, of Chicago, who is also stepping down after completing this term, said everyone needs to bring their “A-game” when debating Batinick because he is always well-prepared.

“They chose him for that job because he’s smart and articulate,” Harris said. “He has clear, thought-out principles and is a good man.”

Batinick said one main strategy for advancing good policy as a member of the minority was building outside pressure.

During his first year, Batinick said he introduced a bill that would stop automatic legislative pay increases. It was continuously ignored, even as the state didn’t have a budget, until newspapers started writing about the automatic pay increases.

With outside pressure building, Batinick said Madigan introduced legislation that was the same concept as Batinick’s to stop automatic legislative pay increases.

“Maybe somebody else will take it and get credit for it and that’s fine,” Batinick said. “You just want to push good policy.”

When he first began serving in 2015, Batinick said it was a bit easier to balance everything because his oldest was heading off to college, one was a junior in high school and could fill in as an extra driver, one was in middle school and the other two were still young.

“As crazy as that all sounds, especially with an extra driver, it actually wasn’t too bad,” Batinick said.

Now, with his oldest three kids out the door and the youngest two in junior high and involved in traveling sports, it became difficult to manage fatherhood, running a business and spending a good portion of his time in Springfield.

With eight years’ worth of memorable moments on the House floor, Batinick said his favorite was the bittersweet passage of his final sponsored bill.

That bill, which allows a pension transfer credit for county correctional officers, passed the House unanimously, and his wife, two kids and a few close family friends were able to witness the moment.

He said his family was planning to go to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, but he texted his wife to have them come to the House gallery for a little bit before leaving because his final bill was about to be called.

“My son was sitting next to me, my daughter and wife were in the gallery and it was pretty special to have that moment with two of my kids there,” Batinick said.

Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government that is distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

Leave a Comment





Local News

CRRNH_TabaresLopez_062922

Mayoral race comes to Archer

Neighbors cheer as Lopez slams Lightfoot on crime By Tim Hadac Southwest Side civic and business leaders last Saturday got an early glimpse of the 2023 mayoral race, as 15th Ward Ald. Raymond Lopez made a campaign stop on Archer Avenue. Lopez was the guest of honor at a “meet and greet” held at the…

election 2022

Two incumbents square off in new 6th District

Newman, Casten battle for Dem nod By Steve Metsch It doesn’t happen often, but voters in the new 6th Congressional District have an unusual choice in the June 28 Democratic primary. Because of redistricting, two sitting members of Congress–Marie Newman and Sean Casten– are going toe-to-toe for the nomination in the June 28 primary. The…

pathlights Ice Cream Fundraising Flyer 6.17.22

Fundraiser is Sunday for Pathlights

Tinley Park nonprofit One Less to Help One More is hosting a special community fundraiser for Pathlights in honor of June’s World Elder Abuse Awareness Month from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday, June 26, at Oberweis at 7202 W. 159th Street in Orland Park. For shoppers, 20% of your purchases will be donated…

USPS logo new

Mail truck loses load on Harlem Avenue

By Bob Bong A U.S. Postal Service truck leaving a local post office spilled its load at Harlem Avenue and 103rd Street Tuesday morning. Palos Hills Police Deputy Chief Tony Carroccio said the truck was driving with its rear door open at 3 a.m. when it dropped packages all over Harlem Avenue near 103rd Street.…

reporter worth welcome sign

Worth considering limits on tobacco stores

By Joe Boyle The Worth Village Board is considering establishing an ordinance that would put limits on where tobacco stores can operate in the village. Worth is not a home rule municipality and therefore cannot vote to put a limit on the amount of tobacco stores in the village. Greg Jones, the village attorney, is…

Election-Vote-Logo-1024x631

Incumbent Zalewski faces challenger for Dem nod in 21st District

By Steve Metsch Taking a break from the campaign trail – talking on a cell phone as he walked door to door – state Rep. Michael Zalewski (21st) said the choice facing Democratic voters on June 28 is simple. “I’ve said consistently that it’s the choice for voters between a record and a promise,” Zalewski…

Totally Blown had its tobacco license suspended for 30 days and its lawyers are seeking a lighter punishment. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Orland Park smoke and vape shop looking for a lesser punishment

By Jeff Vorva Truly Blown Smoke and Vape appealed to the Village of Orland Park Board of Trustees to lighten up a 30-day suspension for selling products to underage customers. The business was also fined and had its tobacco license suspended for 30 days during a June 1 hearing. The appeal was held on Monday,…

Palos Pines residents say cars speeding in their neighborhood are dangerous. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Palos Heights neighborhood pining to eliminate speeding

By Jeff Vorva Residents in the Palos Pines subdivision are worried for their safety and their children’s safety because cars are constantly racing through the Palos Heights neighborhood. Two people spoke up at Tuesday’s city council meeting and a third had an e-mail read to the council members. Also, other neighbors have been contacting police…

election 2022

Update: Morrison, Gorman duking it out for county commissioner spot

By Jeff Vorva In what is one of the nastiest races around, Sean Morrison and Liz Gorman are duking it out for a commissioners’ spot on the Cook County Board. Gorman had the job in the 17th District from 2002-2015 but gave it up to work in the private sector. Morrison took over and had…

election 2022

Six candidates vie for GOP nod in 6th Congressional District

By Jeff Vorva Six for 6. It’s a busy Republican field in the newly drawn 6th Congressional District and six candidates are duking it out on June 28 for the right to take on the Democratic survivor between sitting U.S. Reps. Sean Casten and Marie Newman, and Charles M. Hughes. The new 6th District includes a…

Neighbors

AladdinsBanquets WebAd
CRRNH_TabaresLopez_062922

Mayoral race comes to Archer

Neighbors cheer as Lopez slams Lightfoot on crime By Tim Hadac Southwest Side civic and business leaders last Saturday got an early glimpse of the 2023 mayoral race, as 15th Ward Ald. Raymond Lopez made a campaign stop on Archer Avenue. Lopez was the guest of honor at a “meet and greet” held at the…

election 2022

Two incumbents square off in new 6th District

Newman, Casten battle for Dem nod By Steve Metsch It doesn’t happen often, but voters in the new 6th Congressional District have an unusual choice in the June 28 Democratic primary. Because of redistricting, two sitting members of Congress–Marie Newman and Sean Casten– are going toe-to-toe for the nomination in the June 28 primary. The…

pathlights Ice Cream Fundraising Flyer 6.17.22

Fundraiser is Sunday for Pathlights

Tinley Park nonprofit One Less to Help One More is hosting a special community fundraiser for Pathlights in honor of June’s World Elder Abuse Awareness Month from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday, June 26, at Oberweis at 7202 W. 159th Street in Orland Park. For shoppers, 20% of your purchases will be donated…

USPS logo new

Mail truck loses load on Harlem Avenue

By Bob Bong A U.S. Postal Service truck leaving a local post office spilled its load at Harlem Avenue and 103rd Street Tuesday morning. Palos Hills Police Deputy Chief Tony Carroccio said the truck was driving with its rear door open at 3 a.m. when it dropped packages all over Harlem Avenue near 103rd Street.…

reporter worth welcome sign

Worth considering limits on tobacco stores

By Joe Boyle The Worth Village Board is considering establishing an ordinance that would put limits on where tobacco stores can operate in the village. Worth is not a home rule municipality and therefore cannot vote to put a limit on the amount of tobacco stores in the village. Greg Jones, the village attorney, is…

Election-Vote-Logo-1024x631

Incumbent Zalewski faces challenger for Dem nod in 21st District

By Steve Metsch Taking a break from the campaign trail – talking on a cell phone as he walked door to door – state Rep. Michael Zalewski (21st) said the choice facing Democratic voters on June 28 is simple. “I’ve said consistently that it’s the choice for voters between a record and a promise,” Zalewski…

Totally Blown had its tobacco license suspended for 30 days and its lawyers are seeking a lighter punishment. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Orland Park smoke and vape shop looking for a lesser punishment

By Jeff Vorva Truly Blown Smoke and Vape appealed to the Village of Orland Park Board of Trustees to lighten up a 30-day suspension for selling products to underage customers. The business was also fined and had its tobacco license suspended for 30 days during a June 1 hearing. The appeal was held on Monday,…

Palos Pines residents say cars speeding in their neighborhood are dangerous. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Palos Heights neighborhood pining to eliminate speeding

By Jeff Vorva Residents in the Palos Pines subdivision are worried for their safety and their children’s safety because cars are constantly racing through the Palos Heights neighborhood. Two people spoke up at Tuesday’s city council meeting and a third had an e-mail read to the council members. Also, other neighbors have been contacting police…

election 2022

Update: Morrison, Gorman duking it out for county commissioner spot

By Jeff Vorva In what is one of the nastiest races around, Sean Morrison and Liz Gorman are duking it out for a commissioners’ spot on the Cook County Board. Gorman had the job in the 17th District from 2002-2015 but gave it up to work in the private sector. Morrison took over and had…

election 2022

Six candidates vie for GOP nod in 6th Congressional District

By Jeff Vorva Six for 6. It’s a busy Republican field in the newly drawn 6th Congressional District and six candidates are duking it out on June 28 for the right to take on the Democratic survivor between sitting U.S. Reps. Sean Casten and Marie Newman, and Charles M. Hughes. The new 6th District includes a…

CRR NH European Foot Ankle House Ad
CRR NH Father Sons Home Improvement House Ad