'Madiganville is not the state I wish to live in!'
“Speaker Madigan continues to play games; not only with the citizens of Illinois, but also with the legislators in Springfield,” Smith said. “We elect legislators to serve their districts and fight for their constituents, but Madigan continues to keep even them out of the loop, except for those chosen few.”
Smith, who wants to represent District 49, insists that something as important and vital as the state’s budget should not be regulated to a few individuals, but should be decided by the totality of the capital. She is calling for term limits to restrict or inhibit a politician’s influence on the floor.
“The budget should not be created or decided by a small working group, but by the entire House and Senate,” she said. “This is just another example of why we need term limits for our leaders. As long as the membership in Springfield stays the same, or until legislators decide to take a stand, we will continue to be ruled by one man. Madiganville is not the state I wish to live in!”
One such measure that may also reduce Madigan's political sway is the re-mapping initiative. The measure, formed by the Independent Map Amendment group, would give citizens the power to basically draw the political boundaries of the state via an independent commission. This would allow for better representation. The State Board of Elections has approved it to be on the ballot for November, but there is a catch -- a lawsuit against the initiative is pending.
A Cook County judge recently ruled the proposed amendment goes beyond what citizen-led amendments can do, but the Independent Map Amendment coalition is taking its fight to the Illinois Supreme Court.
Smith is excited that the initiative has been approved by the board, but not surprised that there is a lawsuit against it.
“I am thrilled that the state board approved the remapping item to be placed on the ballot, but I am not naive to believe that Madigan would not do everything in his power and beyond to block this initiative,” she said.
The lawsuit was brought by several lawyers including Michael Kasper, who has represented Madigan and state Senate President John Cullerton in the past.
“Madigan's control could be challenged if the mapping was actually fair, and it would give Republicans a fighting chance of being elected in some areas,” Smith said. “My district would be greatly affected by the change, but I wont be holding my breath that fair mapping will become a reality as long as Madigan is in power.”
This alleged power struggle between parties has made it difficult for a balanced budget plan to be passed. As the state faces another year without a proper budget, social programs and schools are struggling to find funding to stay open beyond December when funds from a temporary stop-gap budget run out. Many are cutting jobs, hours and services in order to sustain operations.
Smith insists that the governor is doing his best to ensure that the budget is properly handled. She believes that the state needs to rein its spending and financial obligations in order to lessen the burden on its citizens.
”While I am deeply concerned about those being affected by the budget impasse, especially those in need, I can appreciate the governor standing his ground and demanding a balanced budget, instead of an out-of-control spending bill,” she said. “We cannot continue to spend what we don't have, and we can’t continue to raise taxes on our citizens. As one of the highest taxed states in the U.S., our citizens continue to bare the burden of out-of-control spending that only benefits a few.”
Smith insists Rauner is doing what the voters elected him to do: make the hard decisions on spending and funding.
“We must find ways to help those in need and fund education appropriately while controlling our spending,” she said. “The governor is attempting to do what we elected him to do; and we never expected it to be easy or fair, but it is what is needed to put our state back on the right track.”