Jim Coxworth and his media relations manager Heather Davern
By Todd Wineburner
A St. Charles businessman is walking from his home in the Chicago suburbs to Springfield, advancing a message supporting term limits and denouncing politically-driven redistricting. Jim Coxworth is the founder of the non-partisan Illinois Citizen Uprising, and he recently stopped by the studios of WJEZ to talk about his trip down the path of Route 66. Coxworth claims he doesn’t like walking, but he’s making his journey to Springfield on foot as a way of attracting attention to his message. Coxworth says he hasn’t generally been active in politics over the years, but he says conditions in Illinois have prompted him to take action. “Illinois is a great state,” Coxworth says, “but today I see a state that has been hijacked by self-serving politicians who have rigged the game to benefit themselves and not the citizens they are supposed to represent.”
Coxworth is a strong supporter of term limits, believing that 8 years in Springfield is enough time for sincere public servants to enact positive change. He believes that long-term lawmakers are more susceptible to corruption and more likely to simply accept the status quo rather than fighting for change. Coxworth also supports the idea of an independent commission tasked with drawing legislative districts. He says 65 percent of races for the Illinois legislature involve unopposed candidates. Coxworth says more realistic legislative districts would increase competition for those seats and eventually lead to better candidates seeking office.
Coxworth lays the blame for many of Illinois’s woes at the feet of Illinois Speaker of the House Mike Madigan, who he says, “…has been the biggest obstacle to these reforms. Eighty percent of Illinois voters want the opportunity to vote on these amendments and potentially change their government, but Mike Madigan won’t allow it.”
Coxworth plans on being at the Illinois State Capitol on October 23rd and he’s hoping his walking tour prompts some discussion and some action. “We can no longer sit by and hope that our broken political system will somehow improve. It’s time to act.”
For more information about Coxworth and his organization, visit www.IllinoisCitizenUprising.com.
To hear WJEZ’s conversation with Coxworth, click on the Podcasts link at the top of this page.