Rauner pushes for term limits
BY NATASHA KORECKI Politics Reporter September 3, 2013 11:07PM
Updated: October 5, 2013 6:26AM
Republican gubernatorial hopeful Bruce Rauner vowed to make a “major financial” push for term limits on Springfield lawmakers.
On Tuesday Rauner told the Sun-Times he would personally make “a major financial commitment to make this succeed.”
“It’s going to be a lot,” he said when asked to give a ballpark number. “We’ll see what we need to raise. I don’t really know. We’re going to raise whatever’s needed.”
His remarks came as he laid out more details of a plan to land a question on the November 2014 ballot that would ask voters to impose limits on Springfield lawmakers, restructure the Illinois House and downsize the Illinois Senate.
Rauner himself is committed to only serving eight years — two terms — in office should he be elected.
Last month, Rauner launched the Committee for Legislative Reform and Term Limits, a ballot initiative PAC that operates differently from a campaign committee in that it has no limit on contributions. Rauner has not yet put any of his own money into the endeavor, but already secured more than $200,000 from investors — including $100,000 from Howard Rich and another $100,000 from former Tribune Co. CEO Sam Zell. Rauner said the initiative would operate completely independently from his campaign with its own staff. Asked whether he would appear in commercials promoting it: “We’ve never even discussed that,” he said, adding that he believes there’s so much public support that ads may not even be needed.
Rauner is a wealthy businessman who is campaigning on his intent to “shake up Springfield.” He blames Springfield’s dysfunction on career lawmakers who are “in bed” with union bosses and special interest groups. Rauner said he will continue the push to get a question on a November 2014 ballot to impose term limits if he loses the primary bid for governor in March.
“We hope the term limits can move them out of office,” Rauner said. That would make room for “folks that don’t come from political power but who want to do the right thing. We can encourage people from all walks of life, make them public servants for eight years.”
Rauner is in a four-way primary race for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. He called his three opponents part of the problem in Springfield.
“Unfortunately, they are all career politicians, they’ve all taken government union money. . . . They are all in the pension system, which is broken and corrupt,” Rauner said. “It is a culture of failure. We need to shake it up. We need folks who are right.”
While Rauner said he reached out to both Democratic candidates for governor, he received a cool response from at least one.
“We don’t respond to gimmicks,” said Pete Giangreco, a spokesman for Bill Daley’s campaign. “Bill Daley will propose serious reforms to our broken political system in Springfield, including term limits, in due course.”
Rauner has said he wants to reform the pension system, creating more of a 401(k) model. Asked how he squares reforming a system from which he garnered much of his wealth as a businessman — Rauner made no apologies.
“I’m proud of the fact I made the pensioneers tens of millions of dollars so they can have better retirements. I’m proud of that,” Rauner said. “That’s completely separate from the fact that the pension system is broken and corrupted by politicians and has to be changed.”