Should Illinois lawmakers face term limits?
State Sen. Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon), who has held his seat since 2009, told the Madison County Record he has a deep belief of the importance of term limits.
McCarter recently announced that he will seek the Republication nomination for the 15th Congressional District, and will run against 18-year incumbent Rep. John Shimkus (R-Collinsville) in the primary next March.
“I don’t think it was ever meant to be a career,” McCarter said. “It was meant to be a time set aside to serve. You do your best, bring your life experiences that you have from your regular job – whether that’s a teacher, physician or business owner – bring that experience to the legislature and make decisions that are good for the people.”
He said if term limits existed, lawmakers in Illinois wouldn’t be having as much trouble with the budget as they are right now.
“Speaker Madigan has been here for 35 years; even if his term would be limited to 10 years in the House and 10 years in the Senate, we wouldn’t have someone with as much power and control over the state today, holding up the budget and controlling so many members,” McCarter said.
Staying in office as a career politician does not help the citizens of Illinois, he said.
The combined years of service House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton is 80 years.
“People whose objective it is to stay in government for as long as they can because of the power, the position and the pension end up being a real disservice to the citizens,” he said.
He told the Record he has kept his promise of self-imposed term limits – eight years on the county board, eight years in the state senate, and will limit himself to 10 years in Washington, if elected to the House of Representatives.
His current term in the Senate expires in 2018. He was first appointed to the seat in 2009 to replace former State Sen. Frank Watson (R-Greenville) who resigned due to health reasons.
“To say you’re for it (term limits) is not enough,” McCarter said. “You have to keep your promise. You have to prove to the people that you’re willing to keep your promise.”
Citizens interested in learning more about how term-limit policy could change the political landscape in Illinois can observe debates and discussions via the Illinois Policy Action, the lobbying arm of the Illinois Policy Institute.