Will County clerk hopeful says gerrymandering leaves voters at a loss
Illinois voters are often denied the chance to choose the candidate they want because of the longstanding practice of gerrymandering, according to Will County clerk candidate Laurie McPhillips.
“Gerrymandering basically suppresses or even eliminates democracy,” McPhillips told the Will County Gazette. “It's like an arranged wedding, where the party is basically choosing your candidate. We need to eliminate gerrymandering to be able to allow free thought and open government.”
House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) will reportedly try to stay in power through 2020, when redistricting is again planned. Madigan has been involved in four previous redistricting efforts.
Illinois Republican Party spokesman Aaron DeGroot and other GOP members suggest that Madigan has used gerrymandering to stay in power for 46 years.
“People around him – including a top legislative leader, numerous lawmakers and, most recently, his daughter – are calling it quits, but there’s no sign the longtime House speaker is hanging it up,” Politico’s Natasha Korecki wrote. “In fact, one source told us last week that Madigan, 75, seemed intent on sticking around through the 2020 remap.”
Sen. Michael Connelly (R-Naperville) claims that the purpose of remapping Illinois districts is solely for creating and maintaining power, according to his website.
“Through the last redistricting process, Democrats drew Illinois’ map to their advantage, splitting up similar communities while at the same time combining dissimilar communities,” Connelly said. “This extreme gerrymandering weakens the representative government to which all Illinois citizens are entitled.”
McPhillips, running to replace current County Clerk Nancy Voots, said she wants to maintain the same kind of integrity and fairness that Voots has shown.
“Rather than cherry-picking constituents based only on their voting records, it [remapping of districts] should follow the constitution and be representative of each area and population so that fair representation is achieved,” McPhillips said.
A small-business owner in real estate industry since 1991, McPhllips held her kick-off fundraiser event at the Jacob Henry Mansion on Oct. 26. Voss as well as former County Clerk Clerk Jan Gould attended, as did several current and former Will County Board members.
A big concern that McPhillips has during her campaign as she and committeemen gather signatures to get her on the ballot is that Illinoisans are taxed far too much. As a business owner, she said she knows what it’s like to feel frustrated by the state’s tax burden, especially with the new gas tax hike.
“Currently being in the real estate industry, we drive very often, and the added taxes will definitely increase our expenses and decrease the amount of discretionary spending that we would otherwise be investing in our community,” McPhillips said.
Like many other GOP candidates, McPhillips is opposed to raising taxes and wants to have a healthier economy with more jobs and a bigger, thriving population in Illinois.
“We are at a time when we should be growing the economy,” McPhillips said. “When you keep taking more money from taxpayers, especially when we are already paying more taxes than most in the country, it will only continue to drive more residents and much-needed jobs out of our state.”
McPhillips, who has served as Will County recorder of deeds, wants a transparent government that constituents can trust.
“Illinois is already overtaxed and losing jobs and families to neighboring states,” McPhillips said. “Another tax will only make it worse. I believe in transparency, and it is disappointing when things like this happen, and it makes elected officials look bad at a time when confidence in elected officials is low to begin with.”