By the IVI IPO and North Side Democracy for America
In order to renew peoples’ faith in government, we must be an example for other states.
Currently, Illinois has an unfortunate reputation as a corrupt state. There are ways we can and must change to how politics is done to better our democracy. This starts with my pledge that I will not vote for Mike Madigan for Speaker of the House. Instead, I propose Greg Harris, an able legislator and leader in the LGBTQIA community, as Speaker.
Illinois has a sad history of protecting incumbents to the point where new candidates with new ideas have no chance to ever be heard. This essentially creates an oligarchy of elites that keep power for generations. This is bad for democracy. Period. I support term limits for legislative leadership positions, and for legislators in general.
A system where politicians pick their voters and not the other way around is not healthy for democracy or good for its citizens. While I recognize the importance of making sure minority voices have representation, we can achieve that without also designing districts with the goal of protecting incumbents. Independent boards have been shown to work in other states, and we should adopt a similar system in Illinois.
Currently, more than 20 U.S. states have some form of non-partisan or bipartisan redistricting commission, including California, Hawaii, New Jersey, and Washington. Not only does it show that these types of commission work, but also that it doesn’t necessarily mean a political party losing control of a legislature in the process.
In the event a political vacancy occurs, the voters — rather than party bosses — should vote for their elected officials. Appointments mustn’t happen behind closed doors in smoke filled rooms by those already in control. If appointed to fill the seat vacated by Sara Fiegenholtz, I will reject it, and I call on others in the race to do so as well.
I support allowing the recall of elected officials convicted of crimes or ethics violations, and those officials who are convicted should lose whatever State pensions they had.
I strongly disagree with the Supreme Court decision to allow unlimited corporate contributions to campaigns. I support limits on corporate contributions, and believe we must work to place a cap on the amount of contributions political parties and leadership can provide to a campaign. Ideally, we should have public financing of campaigns, so that politicians can focus on the issues, rather than having to pander to monied interests to fund their campaigns.
Sitting legislators have a duty to represent their constituents. When they are lobbyists at the same time, they face an inherent conflict of interest that may cause them to favor the lobbying firm (that is paying them more) over the benefit of their constituents. We should ban elected officials from being lobbyists or “consultants” at the same time as they hold office. Elected office is a privilege, dedicated to service, not a vehicle to enrich the legislator.