Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan and other state Democratic leaders got what they wanted when they redrew legislative districts to their benefit after the 2010 Census.
If Tuesday’s election results hold, Democrats will have veto-proof majorities in both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly. That’s because they won 40 total seats in the Senate, five more than they’ve held since the last election, and 71 seats in the House.
Much of the party’s gains specifically can be credited to the new maps that were redrawn to protect incumbent Democrats’ seats and give the party an advantage in other districts. The new districts were so gerrymandered that more than half of both chambers’ seats were uncontested on Tuesday’s ballot. That’s democracy at its worst.
The statewide results are a prime example of why the redistricting process should change to a party-neutral system, rather than allow them to be manipulated by the political elite to serve their own purposes.
Locally, both state senators who represent DeKalb County, 35th District Republican Dave Syverson of Rockford and 45th District Republican Tim Bivins of Dixon were unopposed, as was 70th District State Rep. Robert Pritchard of Hinckley. In the only contested race – and an oddity in Tuesday’s results – Republican Tom Demmer of Dixon defeated Democrat Tom Boken of DeKalb in the 90th District.
The public needs to stand up to career political power brokers like Madigan and demand change.
Illinois taxpayers now are faced with this: The same politicians from the same party who got our state into the fiscal mess it is in are the same ones who have to get us out of it. Anyone feeling particularly optimistic? We certainly aren’t.
We see more backroom deals such as the one two years ago that led to a corporate tax increase and an income tax increase on all working Illinoisans.
If you haven’t paid close attention in the past to what’s going on in Springfield, you need to now. Illinois is in a precarious financial situation. We don’t have a lot of faith in the elected leaders responsible for finding solutions.