Andrew Chesney: Citizens, not lobbyists, other politicians should be choosing their leaders
Andrew Chesney has a novel idea for how he’d like to see state politics operate in Illinois.
“I think Republicans and Democrats can agree there is too much money in politics and that citizens should be picking their own local leaders, not lobbyists and other politicians,” Chesney told the NW Illinois News. “Right now, we’re far from that, but it’s definitely something we should be aspiring too.”
The Prairie State Wire recently reported over just a three-week window commencing in mid-September longtime House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) pumped more than $2 million into the campaigns of 25 House candidates, some say essentially assuring their loyalty in his quest to hold onto his power base in Springfield.
“I think there is a keen interest among some to make certain the status quo remains in place,” said Chesney, running against Democrat Nick Hyde in the 89th District. “It doesn’t surprise me to see these kinds of dollars flowing into these races. It’s just unfortunate that so many of them are coming down to dollars and cents instead of ideas and policies.”
At the very least, Chesney said politicians taking such large sums from Madigan give the appearance of having their judgment clouded.
“It’s certainly a possibility when the majority of your campaign is funded by a single politician or some sort of special interest group,” he said. “People want independent voices, representatives that will vote in the interests of constituents and the district.”
Illinois News Network reports Madigan recently accepted a $768,000 campaign gift from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union (AFSCME) at a time when he is running for re-election in the 22nd District unopposed.
The donation is the largest ever given to Madigan by AFSCME and comes at a time when the organization remains locked in contract negotiations with Gov. Bruce Rauner and the two sides are as much as $3 billion apart in recent offers, Wirepoints reports.
The 89th House District includes portions of Jo Daviess, Stephenson, Winnebago, Carroll, Ogle and Whiteside counties.