Term limits apply to all, not just Dems

Republican megabucks gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner has created a new political action committee to push for term limits.

It’s called the Committee for Legislative Reform and Term Limits. It’s supposed to be used to get a proposed constitutional amendment on the 2014 ballot to impose term limits on state office holders. It’s going to have to be done by petition of the voters (like Gov. Pat Quinn’s legislative cutback amendment) because you surely don’t expect the General Assembly to vote to put something like that on the ballot.

Rauner is making term limits a plank of his campaign for governor. Here’s what he said at Republican Day at the state fair this year.

“I’m running on term limits,” he said. “I want everybody in Springfield to become a public servant again, rather than a career politician that makes a lot of money from their political power. Eight years and out. Madigan, Cullerton, the whole Democratic crowd, they’re gone in 8 years no matter what.”

It drew a nice cheer from the crowd, especially since he mentioned that House Speaker Michael Madigan would be ousted. It doesn’t appear that Senate President John Cullerton has achieved Madigan’s level of loathing among Republicans, but give him time.

Still, you didn’t have to look hard at the Republican Day crowd to find some other people who would be gone no matter what. For starters, Sens. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale and Bill Brady of Bloomington, two other GOP candidates for governor. They’ve each been in the General Assembly for 20 years.

Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont, spoke at Republican Day and got a nice reception. Apparently the crowd didn’t realize they were applauding a 16-year career politician. Local institutions Reps. Raymond Poe of Springfield and Rich Brauer of Petersburg have both outstayed their welcomes by Rauner standards, although they both keep getting re-elected.

To sum up, with term limits, the Democratic crowd may be gone, but so will a lot of the Republican crowd.

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The just-concluded 2013 edition of the Illinois State Fair recorded its highest attendance in a decade, Quinn said last week.

It had a total attendance of 961,142 this year. That was a 5 percent increase from a year ago and the best since 2002, when an estimated 1.2 million people visited. It should be pointed out that there are skeptics out there who questioned the accuracy of attendance figures from late in George Ryan’s administration that showed more than 1 million visitors.

Anyway, attendance was very good and up from last year, both positive things. The only cautionary note is that the weather last year was very good, and this year it was about as close to perfect as it can get for the fair, unless the thing is moved to October. And since the experts say that weather makes or breaks the fair, this might represent the high water mark for attendance.

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Belated credit is due to Brauer for helping to bail out Republican Day at the Illinois State Fair.

Both Republicans and Democrats have some similarities in their annual political gatherings at the fair. Namely, they have food, soft drinks and beer available for the party faithful. And the one thing you don’t want to do is run out of food, soft drinks or beer. Particularly the beer.

“They said we’re shutting down. We’re out,” Brauer said. “There were quite a few people left there. I said put me down for one.”

That’s one as in one keg of beer. Brauer said he offered to buy the keg of beer to keep the festivities going. Or in Republican Day political parlance, Brauer said he offered to sponsor a keg. The price tag was $240.

“I wish I would have asked first,” Brauer said.

Doug Finke of the State Capitol Bureau can be reached at 788-1527 or doug.finke@sj-r.com.

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