GOP Assembly candidate McCombie calls for lawmaker accountability
Tony McCombie, the Republican candidate for the District 71 State House seat, recently called on lawmakers to take responsibility for their actions and pledged to work as a public servant and hold the government accountable.
"Public servants are supposed to be citizens who represent their communities, but the broken system we have today lets career politicians hold power for decades," McCombie said. "It’s time for our lawmakers to be accountable to us."
McCombie called for legislators to listen to constituents. The failures of the Independent Map Amendment and efforts at imposing term limits despite voter support indicate that the career politicians in Springfield are not looking out for voters' best interests, McCombie said.
"Career politicians have made a mess in Springfield, and it is going to take term limits and independent redistricting to clean it up," McCombie said.
While approximately four out of five Illinois residents support term limits, the Assembly has blocked all attempts at imposing term limits on politicians. State Rep. Joe Sosnowski, R-Rockford, proposed term limits in 2011 that would have limited state legislators to a total of 20 years. The bill had no co-sponsors. A similar bill was proposed in 2013, limiting a lawmaker to six years as a representative and 12 years as a senator. Another bill was proposed that same year that would have limited lawmakers to a combined limit of 10 years in office. Neither proposal garnered support in the legislature.
Voter initiatives have faced a similar fate. A term-limits referendum in 1994 was challenged in court because it did not conform to the constitutional requirements for voter-initiated amendments. The Illinois Supreme Court ordered it removed from the ballot. A 2014 effort to implement eight-year term limits that was supported by then-candidate for governor Bruce Rauner suffered a similar fate in court.
Rauner has continued to support efforts at imposing term limits. Republican candidates, including McCombie, have pledged to press for term limits in the legislature.
Term limits would affect a number of long-time legislators, including House Speaker Mike Madigan, D-Chicago, who has held his seat for the past 45 years. Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, would also be affected. Cullerton was appointed to his seat in the House in 1979 and served there until 1991, when he was appointed to fill the Senate District 6 seat. Term limits would not affect McCombie's opponent, Mike Smiddy, D-Rock Island, yet, as he first took office in 2012.
McCombie and her Republican colleagues in and out of the legislature also support the efforts to change Illinois' method of drawing district maps. The latest effort, the voter-initiated Independent Map Amendment, was ruled unconstitutional by a Cook County Circuit Court judge in July and although appealed, the decision was upheld by the state's highest court last month. It fell along party lines, with four Democratic judges upholding the lower court's ruling in a 4-3 decision.
While the Independent Map Amendment was kept off the ballot despite nearly 600,000 signatures supporting the change in redistricting, supporters have not given up the battle. Gov. Bruce Rauner is pressing the legislature to produce constitutional amendments on both term limits and redistricting reform in November, when it returns for the fall veto session. If approved, the amendments would go before the voters in November 2018.
McCombie's campaign is focused on term limits, redistricting reform and government accountability. McCombie has a proven record of working with her colleagues, Republican and Democratic, to find solutions to develop and implement reforms in local government. McCombie said she plans to continue her efforts in the Illinois House while pressing for transparency and accountability at the state level.