Rauner calls on voters to take back their government from entrenched politicians
Gov. Bruce Rauner recently told a group of voters that they should have the right to take back their government through the Fair Map Amendment ballot measure, which aims to overhaul the redistricting process.
In the speech, Rauner said the way the government is currently running Illinois is destructive, wasteful and hurting all citizens, as well as violating democracy.
“We are at a key turning point, a critical juncture in Illinois’ history,” Rauner said. “The people of Illinois two years ago asked for reforms. Democrats and Republicans came together, signed petitions, got 600,000 signatures on petitions to ask for change. The politicians who hold the power in Springfield that control everything said no. They used the court system, and our judges are elected, by the way, to block the reforms that people asked for. And they did it again last week.”
Rauner was referring to a Cook County District judge's recent ruling that struck down the Fair Map Amendment, which would transfer redistricting duties to an independent board, on state constitutional grounds. An appeal was filed, and accepted, by the Illinois Supreme Court.
“We can’t let these decisions stand,” Rauner said. “You deserve a voice. You should decide, not the politicians, not the courts. You should decide; it is your government.”
Rauner also said the culture in the state government has to change. Job losses, higher taxes, high unemployment, lower pay, the defunding of schools, cronyism and corruption have led to a long, slow decline of the state.
“It is because the government is not working for you,” Rauner said. “The government has been working for special-interest groups that make their money from the government, and career politicians have been lining their own pockets, but they haven’t been working for you.”
Rauner said Illinois needs to restore the concept of public service. It should be about public service, not about personal gain, power or pensions.
“We’ve got folks in office 20 years, 30 years, 40 years, accumulating power and money and having businesses on the side to make more money because of their political power,” Rauner said. “That is wrong.”
Rauner said 88 percent of the General Assembly ran unopposed in the primaries. There were no choices, no competition. Rauner said those who run for office should be competing to get votes, not getting a clear path to re-election. Furthermore, in the upcoming general election, two-thirds of the people running won't even face opponents.
“That’s not democracy; that’s a rigged system to protect incumbents,” Rauner said. “The power of incumbency is too strong, and the No. 1 way we can change it is term limits on all elected officials in state government.”
Rauner said he also strongly supports term limits, and that 80 percent of Illinois voters support them as well.
“Limited government, democracy with power to the people -- not politicians, not power hungry leaders — the people,” Rauner said. “And we need fresh faces; we need new ideas coming into our government. And the only way they can get in is with term limits; otherwise, the powers of incumbency are locked in. You shouldn’t be going up against a machine that has people locked in. You can’t ever get them out. The system doesn’t work then. The special interests win, the politicians accumulating power win, and the people of Illinois lose. And that’s what’s been going on in our state for too long. We have got to change the system.”
Rauner proposed that statewide elected officials be allowed to serve a maximum of eight years, and General Assembly legislators should be allowed to serve 10 years. Rauner said any public servant who is actually working for the people should be able to accomplish something within these time frames.
“Make some good common-sense decisions and then get back to the real world,” Rauner said. “This is not partisan; this is good government.”