Baumer spotlights her self-imposed term limits as model for Springfield
Katy Dolan Baumer, Republican candidate for the 44th District state House seat, has been imposing term limits on herself in both her government and nonprofit board positions for years, and she believes leaders in state government should have term limits too.
“I believe in going in, getting something done and getting out,” Baumer said.
This is exactly what Baumer has done. She has served on a number of boards and commissions, but in the majority of cases, she moves on to new positions after a few years. For instance, Baumer served two terms on the Poplar Creek Library Board. She said she helped them get a library built, then left so that someone new could share his or her ideas and experience with the board.
When it gets to a point where people have served 10 to 20 years on a board or in an office, there is stagnation, and creativity is squashed, Baumer said. In government, leaving someone in a position for decades can lead to cronyism or people offering to “help” you if you “help” them with their agenda, Baumer said.
Politicians often forget about the people they were elected to serve once they get into office. Baumer said people whom she has met throughout her campaign have told her how a politician knocked on their door when they were campaigning, then they never see the candidate in the district again. Baumer said this has not been the case since she was elected Hanover's clerk, and that it won't happen if she wins the state House seat.
“I don't get into office then drop people,” Baumer said. In addition to remembering whom she was elected to serve, Baumer said it's also important to realize when it's time for someone else to step up.
“I've been in this office seven years, and quite frankly, it's time for me to get out, and that's why I'm running for this next position," Baumer said. "I am imposing that term limit on myself.”
Not all elected officials feel the same way about term limits, but that is why the people have a chance to vote every two years for their representatives. The people can decide when it's time for a new person to represent them, Baumer said.
“I believe that term limits are naturally imposed by the people who elect their officials," Baumer said. "It's a natural selection if you take the corruption out of it."
Leadership positions within the government are another matter. When it comes to the speaker of the House, the minority leader and others who manage people in the legislature, there needs to be term limits, Baumer said. To have people in office longer than some people have been alive is not fair, Baumer said.
In the private sector, leadership changes happen regularly, and government leadership should as well, Baumer said. Companies change chief financial officers, chief executive officers and job structures often so there can be growth in companies. The same thing needs to happen in states, Baumer said. Illinois has failed to change its leaders. The leadership remains stagnant, but the people continue to expect different outcomes, which isn't going to happen without new ideas, Baumer said. Because new leaders aren't being selected, the state is not growing. It's losing companies, and with them, jobs. The decisions that are being made aren't helping companies; they are only helping a select few, Baumer said.
“I think there should be term limits (in leadership positions), and I will fight for term limits,” Baumer said.
As an elder statesman, Michael Madigan has earned the right to sit back and encourage other people to step up and see what they can do, Baumer said. This would be the first step to making some changes. Former leaders need to encourage others to take leadership positions so they can learn more about their own strengths and weaknesses, Baumer said.
Baumer said that if she is elected, she will encourage her fellow representatives to vote for someone else to be the leader -- someone with fresh ideas and fresh leadership. Ideally, leadership should change every six years, or 10 years at the most, Baumer said.