Leef: Gerrymandering part of why Illinois 'most corrupt state in country'
Dr. Jeffrey Leef, a Republican running for the U.S. House 7th District seat held by Democratic incumbent Danny Davis, finds the recent debate over how Illinois decides its legislative boundaries a serious one.
Leef, a University of Chicago radiologist who has worked at the university for 27 years, describes himself as a physician by vocation and a politician by necessity. Leef said widespread corruption has been allowing for manipulation of legislative boundaries, and he feels it is necessary to help stop what he thinks has been destroying the state.
“The drawing of the legislative boundaries in Illinois is yet another example of the disgraceful and shameless behavior of our state's career politicians,” Leef told West Cook News. “Specifically, take a look at the 4th and 7th Districts. Can any honest person claim that these districts are drawn in a fashion which achieves anything other than connecting specific voter blocks?”
The Independent Maps Coalition, which is trying to get an amendment on the November ballot to reform the system, said the way Illinois decides its legislative boundaries is too political and doesn’t serve voters. Leef agrees and offers examples of gerrymandering in these two districts, starting with River Forest, his home town.
“Can anyone come up with a reason, beneficial to the voters, that a single district includes portions of the Englewood neighborhood, Chinatown, Greektown, the west side AND River Forest? The answer lies in the fact that River Forest is used as a political conduit, connecting portions of Maywood to the South side and the rest of Danny Davis' fiefdom.”
Leef said current boundaries inherently are designed to benefit incumbent candidates.
“Similarly, there are several blocks of North River Forest which are part of the 4th District,” Leef said. “Why? To connect Luis Gutierrez's kingdom to Melrose Park.”
Leef said such corruption can be seen across the Illinois political spectrum, especially with longtime House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Dist. 22).
“This comes as no surprise when the same person, Michael Madigan, has run the State of Illinois for over 40 years,” Leef said. “He chooses the candidates. He chooses the judges. He chooses what laws and budgets are passed. And he most certainly chooses the legislative boundaries.”
Leef takes an obvious sarcastic tone as he addresses the upcoming November elections and said people need to take the opportunity to vote out corruption while they have a chance.
“As of yet, Illinois residents are not sent to prison if they don't vote for the ‘chosen’ candidates,” Leef said. “So why not use our right to vote to cease and desist the political practices that have made Illinois the most corrupt state in the country?”