Primary elections in Illinois are just over two months away. With a Supreme Court decision expected on a landmark gerrymandering case early this year and the fact that whoever wins the governor’s race will preside over the next redistricting process in 2021, it’s time to talk about who draws our maps.

Gerrymandering is the manipulation of district lines to unfairly create an electoral advantage. In Illinois, our legislative district maps currently are drawn in secret without transparency and little or no accountability to the public. Every 10 years, Springfield politicians on both sides of the aisle opt for maps that favor their own reelections instead of competitive races and constructive conversations around our state’s policy needs.

The results of gerrymandering here in Illinois have been devastating. Gerrymandering has led to increased partisanship in Springfield and contributed to government gridlock, budget stalemates, and school funding standoffs. Illinois voters cannot hold our elected officials accountable if these same officials are allowed to virtually ensure their own reelection.

That is why CHANGE Illinois and partners from across the state have sent an 18-question gerrymandering survey to the candidates for governor, with a survey for General Assembly candidates coming soon.

Before you vote in the primary on March 20, will you ask the candidates if they’ll put Illinois voters first and promise to enact fair maps in Illinois?

John M. Sirek
Interim Executive Director
CHANGE Illinois

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Presidency not for beginners

Apparently, Donald Trump has so lowered the bar for presidential aspirants that anyone with celebrity or money or both are considering themselves qualified to run for president.

Oprah is an outstanding woman. She has achieved tremendous success in many areas by virtue of talent, drive and intellect. But she is not a politician — a profession, like any other, that requires experience and education that can be gleaned only by running for office and working in government serving constituents. The presidency of the United States should not be an entry level political job.

It requires not only a breadth of knowledge but the experience to formulate public policy and the ability to get that policy passed into law. It requires the gravitas to take the country to war. Last but not least, it requires the ability to survive the daily battering/constant criticism of rivals and media.

Those who aspire to the presidency must have proved themselves in the public political arena so that voters know the true measure of these people. Trump has shown that standards for this office must be based on experience, judgement and intellect rather than slogans and irreverence.

If Oprah, the Rock, Mark Cuban and the rest want to run for president, they should spend some years in the House, Senate or governor’s office first.

Carol Kraines, Deerfield

Fusion GPS transcripts reveal political games

I may be asking for more than America can handle. Having read the congressional hearing transcripts from Fusion GPS, released Wednesday by Sen. Dianne Feinstein — thank you — I believe we should call for the impeachment of Senators Chuck Grassley and Phil Graham and Rep. Devin Nunes. They were party to an effort at intentional misinformation and misdirection, engaging in partisan politics on the issue of Russia’s involvement in our presidential election. They have hurt America by their actions.

Scott R. Zuhr, Park Ridge