State Government Accountability

Making State Government Accountable

It’s time to make Illinois government more accountable. Mary Rita supports strong reforms to rein in powerful special interest groups and end partisan gamesmanship.

Small Donor Matching Program

Today, our state government is dominated by big money special interests groups that can make large campaign contributions. We need to make it possible for ordinary Illinoisans to feel like they can be heard in the political process.

That why’s Mary Rita endorses the Small Donor Matching Program recently proposed by State Senator Daniel Biss. This program would match donations from $25 to $150 at a 6:1 ratio. This means that someone who gave a $100 contribution would trigger a $600 match, resulting in a total contribution of $700.

Candidates who opt-into the small-donor match would be required to limit their contributions to $500 or less. There would be total spending limits as well: candidates for governor could receive a maximum amount of $5 million, candidates for the state senate would be limited to $300,000, and state representative would be limited to $150,000.

This program is estimated to cost the state between $12 million to $15 million annually, which the General Assembly would appropriate into a special fund for this purpose.

This is a very modest investment that would lead to more citizen engagement and encourage candidates who are not independently wealthy. When voters are empowered to contribute to candidates, the candidates will work to satisfy the voters rather than big-money special interests.

Term Limits for Legislative Leaders

One problem in Illinois government is that there is too much power concentrated in hands of a small number of people. Legislative leaders influence which legislation gets considered, committee assignments for members, and which special interests get taken of in the budget process. That’s a lot of power to put in a few hand.

That’s why Mary Rita supports limits on the number of terms for legislative leadership positions (Senate Majority and Minority Leaders, House Speaker and Minority Leader). Earlier this year the Senate voluntarily approved term limits for the President and Minority Leader of the Senate. Mary Rita wants that to apply to the House of Representatives, as well. 

No one should be able to serve in top leadership positions for more than five terms. That’s long enough to allow for stability yet allows for the rise of new leadership and creates more accountability from the General Assembly.

Fair Maps

Mary Rita is strongly opposed to gerrymandering. After every census, legislative district boundaries are redrawn to reflect demographic changes throughout the state. Gerrymandering occurs when incumbent politicians draw the legislative boundaries for their own benefit. This leads to districts that are unfair and unrepresentative of the will of the voters. It’s said that with modern technology, legislators are able to pick their voters rather than voters electing their legislators.

That’s why Mary Rita supports the Independent Map Amendment. This amendment would create an independent commission that would draw legislative boundaries based on Census results. This commission would create rational and representative legislative districts through a process that is fair and impartial.

For several election cycles, supporters of the Independent Map Amendment have tried to place the Amendment on the ballot. According to polls, it would pass overwhelmingly. Partisan interests, including Speaker Michael Madigan, have fought this initiative and kept it off the ballot.

Mary Rita will lead the fight to pass the Independent Map Amendment in the General Assembly.