Imagine if the President of the United States of America could stay in office as long as he wanted! Term limits might have been one of the best things to happen to politics in the United States of America. However, it is still an ongoing battle, as many political offices in Illinois and the United States of America at large do not have term limits.
Term limits are legal restrictions to limit the number of years an incumbent can serve in elected office. In simpler terms, term limits are laws limiting the number of years a politician spends in office. Term limits primarily have two functions. First, they are established as statutory restrictions to ensure that one person does not hold the same public position for an excessive time. Second, they act as a preventive measure to stop office holders from amassing and exerting a certain amount of authority inside their respective legislative chambers. This is done to stop power misuse.
It might not be common knowledge, but our current mayor is in her second and final term, and the next mayoral election will be coming up in 2025 along with Village Clerk. However, several other prominent offices such Lansing Trustees will be held next year, in 2023. Those who have the offices of mayor or clerk on their radar now have the chance to get started and gain experience by running for other available positions before seeking the mayoral or clerk position.
It would be in your best interests to attempt to run for other offices before the mayoral election to familiarize yourself with the political process and build a support network. Additionally, it allows people to observe you in action and gauge your aptitude. It is a strategy to gain the public’s confidence and show them your capabilities.
As I stated, there will be elections for some political positions next year. They will include elections for members of the Lansing Board of Trustees, Library Board, Park Board, and School Boards.
HOW TO RUN FOR THESE OFFICES
First, and this is sound advice, seek legal counsel regarding your legal qualifications for the office of your choice, the proper method for completing the petition forms for the office, the minimum and the maximum number of signatures required, the qualifications of signers and circulators, and other information.
Second, there are four basic ways by which an individual may become a candidate for office in Illinois:
- An individual can seek the nomination of an established political party.
- An individual can be from a new political party.
- An individual can run as an independent.
- An individual can run as a write-in candidate.
To be eligible for inclusion on the ballot, candidates from established political parties, candidates from new political parties, and independent candidates must submit nomination papers to the Illinois State Board of Elections. These nomination documents need to be filed within the allotted filing period. For candidates from established parties, the filing period starts 113 days before the primary election and ends 106 days before the primary. For Lansing, the petitions will probably start circulating in late September 2022 and are due in December 2022. The candidate’s election guide for the 2023 elections will provide the details.
Nomination papers include the following:
- Candidate must submit a statement of candidacy, including the candidate’s address and a statement affirming that the candidate is qualified for the office sought. This form must be signed by the candidate and notarized.
- The original statement of economic interests must be filed with the Illinois Secretary of State, which will then issue the receipt of the statement of economic interests for the candidate to file with the Illinois State Board of Elections.
- A nominating petition containing the signatures of qualified electors. A candidate can begin to circulate petitions 90 days before the last day of the filing period. The signature requirements for petitions vary according to the candidate’s political party affiliation and the office sought.
- The loyalty oath form is optional.
There are often specific prerequisites and credentials to become a mayor, clerk, board member for Lansing Trustees, Park, Library, and School Boards, as follows:
- The candidate must be a United States citizen.
- The candidate must be a resident of Lansing, Illinois, at the time of the election.
- The candidate must be a resident of Lansing, Illinois, for at least two years before the election.
- The candidate must also be a registered voter.
- The term of office is four years.
Introducing each of these offices will let you decide what might interest you.
LANSING TRUSTEE BOARD MEMBERS
The Board of Trustees comprises six members, and each member is entitled to two successive four-year terms in this office. The Board of Trustees is the legislative department of the Lansing government. As the city’s legislative body, the members are responsible for implementing programs and services.
To run for this position, you must contact the Village Clerk first and remember that the filing window is one week long. The Village Clerks are the administrators for the elections, and their purpose is to help voters and candidates. The Cook County Clerk’s Office will also provide assistance.
PARK BOARD MEMBERS
The Lansing Park Board is also elected and has monthly meetings, a budget, and employees. They are responsible for parks and other facilities under their authority.
LIBRARY BOARD MEMBERS
The Lansing Library Board is an elected body that has monthly meetings. The Library Board oversees the Library Director, who consults with the board about programming and finances. In addition, the Library Board is responsible for reviewing and approving the library’s budget each year. Recently, the board has approved several rehabilitations and improvements for the Lansing Public Library, including remodeling the basement’s youth section.
SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS
There are three public school districts in Lansing that are led by three separate school boards:
- District 215 comprises TF South High School, TF North High School, the Center for Alternate Learning, and the Center for Academics and Technology.
- District 171 comprises Nathan Hale Elementary School and Heritage Middle School.
- District 158 comprises Reavis Elementary School, Coolidge Elementary School, Oak Glen Elementary School, Memorial Junior High School, and the Lester Crawl Primary Center.
In a school district, the board plays a role in deciding administrative and educational policies. Therefore, a school district and its schools are under the control and authority of the school board. Its duties include establishing the district’s direction and creating an accountability structure.
In conclusion, deciding to run for these positions is a positive step toward advancing one’s political career or simply doing one’s civic duty. Therefore, I implore you all to think about running for one of these positions to ensure our wonderful, diverse community continues to remain a community of pride, progress, and possibilities.
Sources: Cook County Clerk’s Office, Village of Lansing website, and various other elected body websites in Lansing.
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