Illinois voters certainly sent mixed signals yesterday.
Our state joined the national wave of disenchantment with the Obama agenda by dumping congressional Democrats and defeating a Democrat for the Senate seat held previously by the president. But unlike a lot of states where Republicans took over legislatures and governors’ mansions, Illinois Democrats maintained much of their control over state and county government. That raises a lot of questions about what yesterday meant and where we go from here:
- What will solutions to the state’s fiscal meltdown look like—whether Pat Quinn stays on as governor or Bill Brady replaces him—with Democrats maintaining control of the Illinois House and Senate? Significant budget cuts? Reorganization? Streamlining? Pension reform? Higher taxes?
- What will the public and political appetite be for revisiting governmental reform issues like a fair redistricting process, expanded investigative power for inspector generals and local prosecutors, limits on conflicts of interest and lobbying abuse, an end to pay-to-play, or more campaign finance limits?
- Do yesterday’s results pave the way for an unexpected candidate in Chicago’s mayoral race?
- Will there be a movement to expand recall to all elected officials—not just the governor? The recall amendment passed yesterday, but there still hasn’t been enough coverage about what it actually entails and how it might evolve — to tell us what you think, click over to the BGA Think Tank.
The BGA will be paying close attention to these issues in the post-election days and weeks ahead. And we will have a new set of questions for the mayoral and aldermanic candidates running in Chicago’s 2011 municipal elections. Where do they stand on TIFs? Privatization? Police and fire department manpower and deployment? Streamlining and reorganizing city services? Reducing waste, fraud and corruption? Following the Shakman decree in practice, not just in theory? And what’s their take on IG Joe Ferguson’s alternate budget?
Give us your thoughts. Join the conversation. Help us make better government a reality.