Quick Hit Ellyn Fortino Tuesday October 18th, 2016, 4:18pm

Pat Quinn Gives Update On Petition Drive, Doesn't Rule Out Bid For IL Governor Or Chicago Mayor

Former Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has collected about 30,000 signatures thus far for his petition drive to create term limits for Chicago's mayor and establish an independent consumer advocate in the city.

He needs about 53,000 signatures by December 2017 in order to put the questions to voters in 2018. Quinn's goal is to collect 100,000 total signatures. 

The petition drive, which began in June, is averaging about 1,500 signatures a week, Quinn said.

"If we keep doing that, we'll be in fine shape," he told reporters after speaking Tuesday afternoon at the City Club of Chicago.

Quinn's petition drive aims to limit Chicago's mayor to two terms. The initiative would also create an elected, independent consumer advocate post, who would replace a mayor-appointed position. 

"There are 10 large cities in America. Every single one has term limits on the mayor except Chicago," Quinn said. "I think we need to give voters in Chicago a chance to vote to put a term limit on the office of mayor in this city. You can have a referendum that is binding to do that. The mayor may not like it, but I think the people do."

Quinn, a Democrat, launched the petition drive after losing his re-election bid to Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner in 2014.  

"I have run for office. I have won, and I have lost," Quinn told the City Club of Chicago audience. "One day you're a peacock, the next you're a feather duster ... but you never give up, and you always find another hill to climb."

Quinn did not rule out another run for Illinois governor or a bid for Chicago mayor.  

"I really don't plan on making any decisions on political office until I get the job done as far as petition passing for binding referendums that I think will show lots of people, not only here in Chicago but across Illinois, the power of citizen petition and referendum."

Quinn was asked whether that means he will not run for office if he is unable to garner enough petition signatures.

"No. I just haven't made my decision up about that. I have run in the past. I might in the future. I might not. I enjoy doing this now," he said. 

Quinn, meanwhile, is looking to collaborate with redistricting reform supporters on a new referendum initiative. In August, the Illinois Supreme Court struck down the Independent Map Amendment that sought to reform the way the state's legislative boundaries are drawn. 

"I outlined, after the court decision, a simple, clean, pristine constitutional amendment to reform redistricting," Quinn said. "It would have an independent commission appointed by the Supreme Court, 11 people, and they would draw the legislative maps after the next census." 

Quinn has not yet started a petition drive for such a redistricting reform measure, though he said "I'm sure it will happen next year."

He said he would like to work with the Independent Map Amendment organizers on the next initiative. 

"I feel that you can draft a constitutional redistricting reform measure if we all team up and work together," Quinn said. "We can make it happen."

The former Illinois governor also commented on the unprecedented levels of campaign spending, including $16 million spent by Rauner, in this year's local legislative races. 

"I don't think it's healthy that Rauner's spending so much money to take over politics in Illinois. His brand of politics is not fair," Quinn said, adding that "it's not healthy for reform."


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