Corinne Pierog and Jim Oberweis, state senate candidates in the 25th District, have different takes on whether allowing legislators serve for years and years is good for the people.
Oberweis, the Sugar Grove Republican, has vowed to serve no more than eight years -- keeping with his belief that the state would be better run by "citizen legislators" instead of career politicians. The longer legislators remain in Springfield the more concerned they become about holding on to the job, he said, including pleasing campaign contributors over representing their constituents.
"I am going to do everything I can as fast as I can" to straighten up the state, Oberweis said. "Eight years is enough."
Pierog, a Democrat from St. Charles, doesn't dispute that longtime politicians might become beholden to contributors and lobbyists. But there already is a term limit, she said.
"It's called the vote," she said.
Pierog said limiting terms would give lobbyists more power, because they would be the people with the most experience and knowledge. She also believes term limits infringe on people's voting rights.
"If all things are going well, why should you be forced to leave?" she said.
Imposing term limits would require changing the state constitution by referendum.
Oberweis and Pierog agree that limiting the time legislators can serve in roles such as speaker of the House or Senate President would be good. Such leaders wield influence in part with their ability to contribute party cash to candidates' campaigns.
Oberweis, as a Republican state central committeeman, was part of a successful charge to limit party leadership terms. The businessman's campaign finance records don't show any state party help -- perhaps due to a belief he doesn't need the money, as he has far outpaced Pierog in fundraising. Rep. Kay Hatcher in the 50th District also hasn't received party money in her race against Democrat Andrew Bernard.
"I don't owe anything to the state party," Oberweis said.
Pierog has received money from the Illinois Senate Democratic Victory Fund. She supports a cap on campaign spending and public financing of campaigns to reduce the power of parties.
As for that donation from the victory fund, "As a potential representative of the 25th, I represent the people. That's it. The money is a tool to be used to send out materials to the people to show them I'm a candidate that is running. That's it. It is that simple," she said.
Oberweis, 66, is chairman of Oberweis Dairy and the founder of Oberweis Securities. He has run for Congress, U.S. Senate and governor.
Pierog, 61, owns Sustainable Leadership Solutions. She serves on the St. Charles school board, and ran for state senate in the current 28th District.