Rep. John Cabello will serve as Assistant House Minority Leader, Minority Spokesperson for two committees


Rep. John Cabello (R) visited Rockton's Village Hall in January where he met with Rockton Mayor John Peterson.

State Representative John M. Cabello, whose 90th District includes Roscoe and Rockton, has been appointed Minority Spokesperson (that is, for the Republicans) on the Police and Fire Committee and the Appropriations-Public Safety Committee for the 2023-2025 legislative term. In that role, he will influence legislation on first responders and funding for 23 separate state agencies, including the Department of Corrections, Department of Transportation and the Illinois State Police. He has also been named an Assistant House Minority Leader.

Cabello will be responsible for questioning witnesses who provide testimony at committee hearings, being the lead advocate for Republican positions on legislation assigned to that committee, and negotiating with the Committee Chairpersons to reach bipartisan consensus on as many bills as possible. 

As far as negotiating goes, the specific Committee Chairpersons involved will be  Rita Mayfield (D-Waukegan), who chairs the Appropriations-Public Safety Committee, and Frances Ann Hurley (D-Chicago), who chairs the Police and Fire Committee. Also serving on the Police and Fire Committee: Dave Vella, who narrowly defeated Cabello in the 2020 election.

Rep. Cabello has served with the Rockford Police Department for years. “I will work proactively to ensure that our first responders and public safety professionals in every agency have the resources they need,” Cabello said. “This can and should be done on a bipartisan basis. I am ready to get to work immediately to support our police and fire personnel across Illinois and address our state’s public safety needs.”

In addition to the Spokesperson assignments, Representative Cabello has also been appointed to serve on the Executive Committee, the Judiciary – Criminal Committee (with Vella), the Public Utilities Committee (with Vella, Mayfield, and Hurley), the Gaming Committee, and the committee on Immigration and Human Rights.

The Judiciary – Criminal Committee (there is also a Judiciary – Civil Committee) handles all legislation concerning criminal laws, including areas such as mandatory minimum sentencing, penalty enhancements, criminal justice reform, and regulation of sex offenders. Representative Cabello previously served on this committee from 2015-2021. 

On Jan. 12, 2023, Cabello was named to the post of Assistant House Minority Leader for the 103rd Illinois General Assembly, joining the leadership team of new House Minority Leader Tony McCombie, R-Savanna. The role of Assistant Minority Leader is to advocate for Republican positions on policy issues and build coalitions in support of legislation working its way through committee and on the House floor. Cabello's office says he was "appointed in recognition of his legislative experience and leadership as an advocate for the law enforcement community and public safety."

"I am truly honored to accept the appointment as Assistant Minority Leader," Cabello said. "I would like to thank Leader McCombie and the entire House Republican Caucus for their confidence and support. I am committed to working with colleagues across the State of Illinois to hold the Democratic majority accountable and advocate for reforms to state law that will reduce crime by giving our law enforcement personnel the resources and support they need to protect our communities. We also need to lower taxes and enact meaningful ethics reform to end the culture of corruption in Springfield."

Cabello will be working closely with Tony McCombie, after the previous Republican leader, Rep. Jim Durkin, stepped down. McCombie is a realtor and former mayor. Like Cabello's, McCombie's district is part of the 45th State Senatorial district of Andrew Chesney.  Both Cabello and McCombie have been opponents of Gov. JB Pritzker's COVID mandates.

Democrats hold a super-majority in both houses of the Illinois General Assembly, so McCombie told Capitol News Illinois in November that it will be important to work collaboratively with Democrats if Republicans hope to achieve any of their priorities.

“I'm going to do what I do now,” she said. “I have friends on both sides of the aisle. I work to develop relationships and friendships, and you all may not know me, but I'm very honest and transparent. And I'll continue that kind of conversation with the folks across the aisle.”

As one who is known for being more conservative than Durkin, McCombie said she will seek to moderate policies in the state that she says have been driven by the left wing of the Democratic Party.

“Here's the thing. In Illinois, it's not about being pro-life or pro-gun. In Illinois, we continue to push the extremes. And maybe that message wasn't apparent,” McCombie said. “But there would be, in my opinion, no pro-choice Republicans that would vote to repeal parental notification, that would allow abortions up to nine months. So I think that's what we need to talk about in Illinois is the extremes.”

According to Politico, McCombie's team also includes Deputy Minority Leaders Reps. Norine Hammond and Ryan Spain. Besides Cabello, the other Assistant Minority Leaders are C.D. Davidsmeyer (100th), Jackie Haas (79th), Mike Marron (104th) and Charlie Meier (109th). Rep. Jeff Keicher (70th) was named Republican conference chairman. Rep. Patrick Windhorst (117th) has been named Minority Floor Leader for the Illinois House.

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