Why Push Now For Term Limits In 2028?

Sep 20, 2016

Gov. Bruce Rauner
Credit Amanda Vinicky

 Gov. Bruce Rauner, a Republican, has gotten a lot of traction with his push for term limits. Voters seem to love the idea just as much as legislators hate it, even if the governor's plan doesn't seem all that practical.

It's pretty clear Rauner's desire for term limits is at least partially rooted in animus for Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan, who's been a state representative since 1971.

The earliest Illinois could amend its constitution to include term limits is 2018. Only then would the 10-year clock start ticking on lawmakers' careers.

If Rauner keeps his own pledge, he won't be governor then. And Madigan? He'll be 86.

Why, then, is Rauner pushing for term limits?

"The simple answer is nothing would change the performance, and the culture, in our state government faster than term limits," Rauner said Tuesday on a Facebook Live stream.

The governor says he expects lawmakers would see the political writing on the wall and resign or quit early.

"Many elected officials would look and see, wow, the game's kinda over," he said.

Even without term limits, 11 legislators stepped down mid-term this session; several others choosing to not run for re-election.

Rauner's critics say his term limits push is a campaign ploy.