Candidate: U.S. presidency has term limits -- why not Illinois General Assembly?
Dawn Abernathy has been noticing a certain buzz from people when she attends events and meetings as she campaigns for the state House District 59 seat: They want change.
“I have attended the Mundelein Gourmet Club and Park on Park...it is interesting to see people want change,” Abernathy told the Lake County Gazette. “They are tired of the political games that are being played so that (incumbent) Rep. (Carol) Sente and the Democratic leadership can continue to control Springfield. They no longer care about the residents of Illinois or District 59. It is about keeping their power. Fair mapping is something that all politicians should be in favor of. No one party should have an advantage over another.”
Parties and politicians having one advantage over the other may have been remedied by implementing term limits. However, they were once again shot down by House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Dist. 22) during a recent floor discussion. The speaker was quoted as saying term limits exist in the form of votes and that he won a majority of votes the last election, thank you very much.
Abernathy said this is Madigan being Madigan, snuffing out an issue.
“It is typical of Mike Madigan,” Abernathy said. “If he doesn’t want a bill to be voted on, he makes sure it never reaches the floor. He has done this on a number of bills. HJRCA 39 is only the latest. This bill was introduced by the Republicans for 10-year term limits for state legislators and eight years for executive branch offices.”
Regarding term limits, Abernathy noted that the U.S. president is limited to two four-year terms.
“If term limits are OK for the president of the United States, why isn’t it OK for Illinois politicians?” Abernathy said. “That was the reasoning when I voted for term limits in the Village of Mundelein. To see where the Democrats' priorities are, they decide to vote on tax increases over term limits.”
Abernathy said priorities are scattered in Springfield, which has led to mismanagement and the currently frazzled conditions in Illinois. Abernathy said this mismanagement is one of the reasons why, on a report released by the Civic Federation, Illinois has spent nearly $1 billion on penalties and fees due to late payments of bills.
“Illinois has had a spending problem for decades –money has been mismanaged for years, Abernathy said. “As a parent, we know that there are times when we have to tighten the belt. During the recession of 2007, we all felt the pinch. Every family had to decide if items they wanted to purchase were a want or a need. We had to keep credit purchases to a minimum in order to get through the rough times.”
However, Illinois kept on spending compared with the rest of its citizens, who were tightening their belts and bank accounts, Abernathy said.
Illinois didn’t get the memo," Abernathy said. “They continued to spend at an alarming rate, yet didn’t have the funds to pay the bills on time. Illinois racked up $900 million in late penalties over six years, long before this budget stalemate.”
Abernathy said the $900 million could have been better spent elsewhere, on programs short on funding.
“This is money we could have used to help the truly needy in the state,” Abernathy said. “There are programs closing their doors because we have allowed the Democratic leadership in Springfield to spend money that we don’t have. It is basic to every family in Illinois; we can only spend what we earn -- a new concept for Springfield. I have had to balance my family checkbook over 22 years. It really is pretty easy.”
Abernathy's campaign will, with any luck, allow her to bring some common sense to the capital, she said.
"The campaign is going great," Abernathy said. "I have been seeing people, talking to people and hearing their displeasure with the leadership in Springfield. There has been a grassroots effort to bring independent redistricting to a referendum this fall. Instead of letting the peoples’ voices be heard, they are trying to stop their efforts in court, to deny the voters their voice at the ballot box.
"The people are upset with the political insiders and want it to stop," Abernathy said.