University of Illinois at Chicago political science professor and former Chicago alderman Dick Simpson joined Pat Quinn to endorse the grassroots petition drive for a binding November referendum imposing term limits on the office of Chicago’s mayor.
Of the ten largest cities in America, only Chicago does not have a term limit on its mayor.
Volunteers have already collected more than half of the 100,000 petition signature goal needed by August 6 to put the mayoral term limit referendum on the November 6 ballot.
If mayoral term limits are approved by Chicago voters on November 6, the incumbent mayor would be ineligible to run in the February 26, 2019 mayoral election.
Voters in 25 Illinois municipalities including Springfield, Naperville, Oak Lawn, Des Plaines, and Downers Grove have used the petition and binding referendum power contained in the Local Government Article of the Illinois constitution to impose term limits on their mayors.
Last week, a campaign spokesman for Chicago’s incumbent mayor claimed the incumbent would be exempt from a voter-approved November referendum imposing term limits on him.
But in a 2016 case in the village of Broadview, Johnson v. Ames, the Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the voters’ right to impose mayoral term limits in a binding referendum immediately before the next mayoral election.
The Illinois Appellate Court in three recent cases – Jones v. Calumet City, Davis v. Welch, and Zurek v. Franklin Park – has also strongly affirmed the voters’ right to use petition and binding referendum to impose term limits on local mayors.
Dick Simpson has uniquely combined a distinguished academic career of more than 50 years at the University of Illinois at Chicago with public service in government. Prof. Simpson served two terms as alderman of Chicago’s 44th Ward before voluntarily retiring in 1979.
He is the author or co-author of more than 20 books on ethics and politics, including Rogues, Rebels, and Rubber Stamps: The Story of the Chicago City Council.