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Do We Need a Lt. Governor?
Lt. Governor Sheila Simon has told supporters that she'll announce the next move in her political future on Wednesday.
She has already stated that she won't seek another term in her current office.
That means Governor Pat Quinn will have to decide who will be his new running mate in 2014.
But some lawmakers think the answer should be no one, because they want to eliminate the office of the Lt Governor all together.
A measure to launch a constitutional refernedum on that idea passed the Illinois House by wide margins in the Spring, but wasn't voted on by the Senate.
"From the budget and appropriations process, and looking through some of that stuff, i think a lot of the things that are done in the Lt. Governor's office are duplicative of things that are done elsewhere," says Republican Representative C.D. Davidsmeyer, "I think it's more of a figurehead position in the case the governor runs off or does something wrong."
The measure that Representative Davidsmeyer co-sponsored this year would have changed the line of the succession, with no Lt. Governor, the Attorney General would replace the governor if needed.
But UIS professor Kent Redfield believes there is some value to the right kind of number 2 executive.
"Where it is useful to have a partner in government," says Redfield, "if you've got somebody that is effective, say in terms of dealing with the legislature."
After the last gubernatorial election, lawmakers changed the process so that the lt governor candidates run in the primary with candidates for governor.
"The people that are in positions of power in the legislature feel like this is going to be a better arrangement," says Redfield, "if it turns out that they go through a couple of cycles and end up with huge problems, then it can be revisited."
But Davidsmeyer and many members of the general assembly would like to revisit the elimination of the office now.
"I don't see why not," says Davidsmeyer, "I think we should keep looking at it, and there's no reason why the public shouldn't want to do this, and get rid of one unneeded office and save a couple million dollars in the process."
Proponents of the bill say eliminating the entire office could save taxpayers 2 million dollars per year.
The Lieutenant Governor herself makes just over $135,000 per year.