Parkhurst: Entrenched elected officials need to go home
Term limits would restore democracy and public service to the Illinois General Assembly by ending the reigns of entrenched elected officials, Lindsay Parkhurst, Republican candidate for state representative in the 79th House District.
“Professional, career politicians have no place serving in our state legislature, a body that should truly be a citizen legislature,” Parkhurst told the Kankakee Times.
Gov. Bruce Rauner, who is currently traveling the state with renewed calls for term limits, has put members of the General Assembly on notice: they should return to the fall veto session prepared to vote on placing a constitutional amendment for term limits on the ballot, and to create independently drawn legislative maps, another issue that Parkhurst is passionate about.
“Gerrymandering is an awful process designed to disenfranchise voters and limit citizen control over state government. Voters should be able to choose their politicians, not the other way around," she said earlier this month.
In fact, that’s why Rauner thinks term limits and fair maps reform are so closely linked – together, these initiatives could change the way Illinois operates legislatively.
“The broken system we have today only allows for the self-serving, self-aggrandizing politicians we see in Illinois,” Parkhurst said.
For example, House Speaker Mike Madigan was elected in 1971. He’s held that position for all but two years since 1983. Senate President John Cullerton has been a Springfield legislator since 1979. And Aldermen Ed Burke assumed office in 1969.
“Public servants are supposed to be citizens who represent their communities for a short period of time, then return home to continue their normal lives,” Parkhurst said.
Of the nation’s 10 largest cities, only Chicago lacks some form of term limits, a fact that isn’t lost on Illinoisans -- currently, roughly 4 out of 5 of them support term limits, according to a poll by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University.
While lawmakers’ efforts to pass term limits thus far have been unsuccessful, Parkhurst is one of many GOP candidates who plan to carry on efforts like those launched in 2015, when members of the House of Representatives filed a resolution to put term limits in the state’s constitution.
While the resolution never made it out of Madigan’s Rules Committee – and the same resolution stalled in the Senate – the fight will go on, Parkhurst said.
“I will fight for term limits and be the public servant the 79th District rightly deserves instead of another professional politician,” she said.
Parkhurst, a Kankakee attorney, is running against Democratic incumbent Katherine Cloonen in the general election.
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