- Published: Thursday, January 08, 2015 04:49 PM
Today, the General Assembly approved legislation that affirms the fundamentals of democratic government by letting voters decide who will serve as Illinois' comptroller.
When Judy Baar Topinka, who had just been elected for a second term as comptroller — one of the state's two elected fiscal officers — passed away tragically and unexpectedly in December, state law allowed the governor to choose her successor. Because Governor-elect Rauner, who will take his oath of office on Monday, is authorized to appoint a comptroller for the new term, Illinois could have an unelected individual serving for four years in what the state constitution created as an elected office.
I did not believe this was the right approach, so I was proud to vote in favor of a successful proposal to hold a special election for comptroller in November 2016. Voters will be able to choose someone to serve as comptroller for the next two years at the same time they go to the polls to vote for U.S. president and other offices. The people have a right to determine who represents them in government, and I will always stand up, speak out and vote for that right.
I also continue to support merging the positions of comptroller and treasurer — a move that will save taxpayers $12 million per year and result in better and more efficient government. In the past, I have co-sponsored constitutional amendments that would combine the two offices, and I plan to join my colleague Senator Kwame Raoul in reintroducing this measure next week.