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Government is broken, especially at the state and national level.
We once used words such as noble, public servant and integrity to describe those who represented us in elected office. Those descriptions have been tossed to the side to make room for greed, money and power.
What used to be a calling to public service is now a career. Policy is based on who has the most money, not what is best for the people. The same goes for how representatives vote. Party comes first; people come last.
Angst against government has spawned anger from the populace. I’d like to introduce you to the tea party and Occupy Wall Street movements.
One fix can go a long way in fixing our government – term limits.
Term limits would curtail the influence of money and lobbyists in government. They would attract the right kind of candidate to seek office. If money and greed are out of the equation, political lifers make way for public servants.
If we don’t allow candidates to stay in Washington or Springfield too long, then they can’t become puppets of the lobbyists pouring money into their coffers.
In Washington, the amount of money spent by lobbyists has increased every year since 1999, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. In fact, spending has more than doubled. In 1999, lobbyists spent $1.44 billion; last year, they spent $3.51 billion.
Members of Congress should face a finite time in office, just like the president does. In Springfield, there are no term limits for governor, senator or representative.
Term limits won’t eliminate lobbyist spending. They won’t bring PAC spending to a halt. But they will limit lobbyist and special interest influence.
And the sooner we do that, the sooner we the people get our government back.
• • •
We are a year away from electing a president, but before that, the Republicans need to determine a nominee.
Primary season starts in January, and the candidates have been vying for the position for months.
To help you stay current with all the news surrounding next year’s presidential election, we’ve launched a new website dedicated to covering it.
Road to the White House can be found at Daily-Chronicle.com/white
house. On it, you’ll find stories about the presidential race, bios for the Republican candidates, Twitter feeds for the candidates, polling data and more.
If you are a political junkie, you’ll want to bookmark this website.
• • •
Last month I wrote about author David Vann and his new book, “Last Day on Earth: A Portrait of the NIU School Shooter.”
Vann and I have not been able to find a time when we both were available to talk more about the book, which examines Steve Kazmierczak – the shooter in the Feb. 14, 2008, shooting at Northern Illinois University. He killed five NIU students and injured more than 20 others before killing himself.
Although Vann and I have played email tag for the past few weeks – he’s been in Europe and Alaska – he did tell me why he was doing a stop on his book tour in DeKalb.
“I felt I owed DeKalb a visit, since many people have had questions and there was no info available for so long,” Vann wrote in an email. “I’ve seen all the files, so I can answer a lot of questions. It’s also a national story and an important one which indicates problems we still have, such as the lack of any reasonable gun control.”
Vann’s appearance in DeKalb is at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Barnes & Noble.
• Jason Schaumburg is editor of the Daily Chronicle. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DC_Editor and interact with him at the From the Editor’s Desk Facebook page.