CORRECTED: Illinois legislators could vote on term limits this fall
This fall, legislators in the Illinois General Assembly could be voting on setting term limits for the first time in the state.
Gov. Bruce Rauner stated during a recent press conference that term limits and fair maps would “give the people of Illinois more control over our broken political system.”
In 2014, a measure failed to appear on the ballot that would have limited state legislators’ term limits to eight years.
Brandi McGuire, a Republican candidate for state representative in the 72nd district signed a document called the Illinois Term Limit Pledge in July.
“I was one of the first candidates to sign Gov. Rauner’s term limit pledge on July 26, 2016, which states that elected officials should serve no more than a combined 10 years in the Illinois House and Senate and the governor’s term should be no more than eight years,” McGuire said.
Rauner has gone on record as saying that the only way to overcome entrenched political power is for people in the state to fight for term limits. Illinois has several legislators who have served multiple years, including Patrick Verschoore, who has served in the Illinois House of Representatives since 2003, and Mike Jacobs, who served 10 years in the Illinois Senate.
Rauner said there are other politicians in Springfield who have been in their respective seats for 20, 30 and even 40 years.
“And look what’s happened to our state in that time. It’s time for change,” Rauner said.
Term limits are supported by as many as 80 percent of Illinois residents, Rauner has stated. However, he has said that about 80 percent of politicians are against term limits.
“The Quad Cities area is known for legislators who have served for many years, but this is a democracy and the voters have spoken over the years,” McGuire said.
McGuire added that she believes the state of Illinois is in crisis because too many politicians have been in office for too long and have lost some of their sense of accountability.
Rauner said that new candidates in an election need to know they have a chance at winning.
However, this year, the field of candidates has proven not to be very wide, as more than 88 percent of candidates for State General Assembly ran unopposed in their respective primaries.
The governor stated that members of the State General Assembly need to be more concerned about public service rather than their personal gains and a government pension.
“In this election the citizens of the 72nd District are looking for a local candidate whom they can relate to and one that has their best interests at heart," McGuire said. "Legislators are public servants and should not be focusing on building or continuing their political careers.”
The Illinois General Assembly starts its fall veto session Nov. 15, which is the week after the general election.
Editor's note: The initial version of this story incorrectly stated that Jeff Jacobs is the son of long-time Senator Mike Jacobs and was running as the Democratic candidate in the 72nd District this fall. In actuality, Jeff Jacobs is of no relation to Mike Jacobs and was defeated in the Democratic Party primary. We regret the error.