Op-Ed: Corruption is the root of Illinois’ problems

As I head back to Springfield for the 2020 legislative session I am reminded of the important issues our state is faced with today. The issue I hear most from people in my district lately is, what is the legislature going to do to stop corruption in state government? I could not agree more that something must be done.

Corruption is the root of Illinois’ problems! It’s arguably the reason why our state is faced with many issues such as high property taxes, billions in debt and of course gerrymandered districts which are drawn to protect entrenched politicians.

On January 29th during the Governor’s annual ‘State of the State’, I was happy to hear that Governor Pritzker announced his support for stronger ethics reforms such as legislation I co-sponsored that would ban lawmakers from serving as paid lobbyists. However, I was disappointed we didn’t hear anything about fair maps. The current process of drawing political maps to suit the politician instead of putting the choice in the people’s hands is corrupt. Our forefathers platted America using straight lines instead of drawing boundaries. Taking the redistricting process away from politicians goes hand in hand with much needed ethics reforms.

It’s time for the legislature to pass stricter ethics reforms immediately. There should be no excuses, the Democrats control the majority in the legislature and they have yet to pass any ethics reforms that will help end the culture of corruption.

As of today, the FBI has ongoing investigations pertaining to specific state lawmakers, lobbyists and elected officials in Chicago. Most recently, on January 28th a Chicago Democrat Senator plead guilty on corruption charges. The recent guilty plea by a member of the Illinois General Assembly should provide a sense of urgency for the legislature to approve these reforms.

I have co-sponsored seven bills to stop corruption in our state, it’s time for the Democrat majority in the House to join my colleagues and I by allowing these bills to be voted on in the legislature. I hope House Democrats give us the opportunity to vote on stronger ethics reforms as soon as session reconvenes.