House candidate calls for legislation to allow for recall vote on Rahm
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel should face a potential recall vote in the wake of recent controversies, including one surrounding the police shooting of a 17-year-old teenager, the likely candidate for the 111th House District said Friday.
Mike Babcock, a Republican from Wood River Township, said he believes the people of Chicago want the opportunity to vote on ousting Emanuel.
“I do think the people have spoken in the city of Chicago," Babcock, who has indicated he will be the Republican candidate for the 111th House District but has not officially declared, told the Metro East Sun. "They have a right to be able to speak.”
Babcock, the Wood River Township supervisor, is expected to challenge incumbent state Rep. Dan Beiser (D-Alton) in the November election. In 2012, he ran for a seat in the State Senate but was defeated by the incumbent, Sen. Bill Haines (D-Alton).
He is listed as one of 16 candidates for seats in the House and the Senate who signed an open letter supporting legislation enabling a recall of the mayor.
That letter read: “In light of recent events, I’m standing up with fellow principled candidates to call on the General Assembly and my opponent to protect the families and children of Chicago and empower them with the ability to recall Mayor Rahm Emanuel.”
The candidates stated they support legislation filed by Rep. LaShawn Ford (D-Chicago) that would allow for a recall vote.
Ford filed HB 3456 on Dec. 9. The bill was referred to the House rules committee on Jan. 13 and has seven co-sponsors.
It amends a 1941 Cities and Villages Act to establish “a procedure for an election to recall the mayor.”
Under current legislation, the governor is the only elected official in the state that can be recalled, as happened to Gov. Rod Blagovejich after his indictment on corruption charges.
“If people in a democracy do not want that elected official, then they should be able to (recall the official)," Babcock said. "People are upset by the situation. People should be able to go through this process. The people of Chicago are the ones that are concerned about this issue.”
The letter he and other candidates signed called on their opponents to give a commitment they would push for passage of the bill.
“Rahm and the Chicago political power structure have failed the students they are charged with educating and the families they are charged with physically protecting,” the letter read. “It’s time to stand up and speak with moral clarity against the injustices bestowed upon us from the political status quo.”
Ford, speaking after he filed HB 3456, said he did so following the release of a video showing the police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. He was shot 16 times.
Emanuel faces questions over what and when he knew of the shooting, and whether he or his aides worked to quash the release of the video. Charges were only brought against the officer alleged to have shot McDonald after a court ordered release of the video.
"We have not seen the tip of the iceberg yet," Ford told reporters after filing the bill. He said voters have lost "trust and confidence" in the mayor.
"People are hurt, people have died, people feel that they are forgotten about in the city of Chicago," he said.
Gov. Bruce Rauner has also weighed in on the recall debate, saying last month he would sign legislation allowing voters to recall the mayor of Chicago. He added that his attorneys advised him that a recall law would apply only to lawmakers elected in the future, and that it would not apply to Emanuel, only to his successors.
Emanuel is defiant.
“I am the mayor," he said in a December speech to Chicago City Council. "As I said the other day, I own it. I take responsibility for what happened, because it happened on my watch."
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