Rauner urges 10-year term limits for General Assembly members
Illinois needs a lot of reforms to turn around job losses, deficit spending, cronyism and corruption, among other statewide challenges, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner said during a recent Rock Island County stop.
“To get it all done, we need to fix the government,” Rauner said during a speech at Corn Crib Nursery in Coal Valley. “It’s not working for you, and we’ve got to change that. If we change the culture of government, then we change the system, which is broken.”
Specifically, Rauner discussed supporting both a constitutional amendment for Illinois term limits and independent maps redistricting.
“Term limits is a bipartisan, good government issue,” he said. “The longest I would ever serve, if people let me, is eight years. In a statewide office, people should serve at the most eight years. For legislators in the General Assembly, 10 years.”
In fact, term limits would go a long way toward fixing the system by changing the mindsets of entrenched politicians who have held positions for decades, Rauner believes. Such career politicians need to find new jobs so that new faces and fresh ideas are brought to Springfield, he added.
“I’m going to travel everywhere in the state and ask members of the General Assembly to pass a constitutional amendment during the fall veto session so that term limits can be put on the ballot,” Rauner said. “Then (voters) will have the choice. This is a big deal.”
During his current statewide agricultural fly around, the governor also reiterated his efforts to reform the Illinois political system following a Cook County judge ruling against putting a popular measure on the ballot that would create independently drawn legislative maps.
The governor thinks redistricting is critically needed in the state. Voters should be able to choose their elected officials through an independently drawn map that ensures competitive elections, he said.
“We’re at a key juncture as a state,” Rauner said. “We’ve been going down a bad road for a long time. The people of Illinois demanded reforms two years ago for term limits and fairer maps when 600,000 petitions were signed for term limits and 600,000 were signed for fair maps. But the entrenched politicians who control the legislature said no and they used the courts to overturn and reject the petitions, and keep it off the ballot. We can’t let this stand. We’ve got to get power away from the politicians and get it back to the public.”
Most recently, the Illinois Supreme Court granted the motion for a direct appeal of the Cook County Circuit Court ruling against the constitutionality of the proposed citizen-initiated amendment on redistricting, which is known as the Independent Map Amendment.
“We have districts that look like spaghetti noodles drawn by folks who have been in office for 40 years,” Rauner said. “The system is rigged to protect the incumbents. America is built on competition and free choice -- the people’s will should be respected. You should have options to choose from; you should be able to decide these issues. It shouldn’t be locked in.”
He asked attendees to rise up and make their voices heard by special interest groups and career politicians, who need to know that new faces must have an even chance at winning in a truly democratic election.
“It's not about power and a pension,” Rauner said. “We need to get back to the real world again. This is about public service, not personal gain. So talk to your legislators. Put it on the ballot. We need to put pressure on the General Assembly and give people the voice.”