October 23rd, 2018
Happy Term Limits Day!
Would you like to see a national Term Limits holiday? And if so, what would be the best date for us to commemorate? Furthermore, what would we do to celebrate it…?? Join your host USTL President Philip Blumel and Executive Director Nick Tomboulides to discuss this as well as the benefits of Boston Cream Pie Day. We also check in with Jim Coxworth one last time as he travels along Route 66 to raise term limits awareness in the corrupt state of Illinois (illinoiscitizenuprising.com). Additionally, there’s bad news for the citizens in the state of Arkansas as the corrupt politicians hornswoggle the vote…
October 21st, 2018
Citizen letting his feet do the talking on reform in Springfield
“Walking Jim” Coxworth, a businessman from the Chicago suburb of St. Charles, knows a good idea when he borrows one.
That’s why he’s closing in on the end of a 187-mile, 13-day, one-man walk to bring political change to Illinois.
He started hoofing it from his home on Oct. 11. By Thursday, he was ambling along Route 66 near Pontiac. If all goes as planned, he’ll finish Tuesday in Springfield, wrapping up his expedition with a news conference at the Illinois Capitol Building in Springfield.
That’s a place he hopes to disrupt by channeling public disgust with Springfield into positive political action.
“If you’re going to make a change, you’ve got to do something,” said Coxworth, who’s sick of watching Illinois’ steady decline.
Coxworth and the organization he formed — Illinois Citizen Uprising — want to revise the structure of state politics by implementing term limits on professional politicians and eliminating the current process by which the majority political party draws state House and Senate district boundary lines to benefit itself.
After deciding what he wanted to do, Coxworth focused on the how — starting with the necessity of generating public attention.
“ARE YOU MAD AS HELL? HELP US DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT,” asks his website, illinoiscitizenuprising.com.
Coxworth borrowed the idea for his walk from Illinois Gov. Dan “Walking Dan” Walker.
In 1972, Walker walked the state to draw attention to the Democrat’s ultimately successful campaign for governor.
“I remember thinking, “Man, is that guy getting a lot of publicity?’ So why not do that?” said Coxworth.
The 64-year-old mostly retired businessman isn’t the first to emulate Walker’s gimmick.
At least two other aspiring politicians, “Walking Joe” Teasdale of Missouri and “Walking Lawton” Chiles of Florida (detect any pattern in the media nicknames?) built winning movements on the strength of the attention they generated by walking their states.
The funny thing about Coxworth is that, while he’s a physical-fitness buff, he’s never been much for walking. On Day 8 of his sojourn — the day Coxworth spoke to The News-Gazette — he complained about his sore feet and too-long search for just the right pair of shoes to wear.
“(My feet) feel fine at 4 miles, but it’s a different story at 15 miles,’ he said. “When you walk on blisters, they start bleeding.”
Nonetheless, Coxworth said he’s willing to pay the price if that’s what is required to organize a bipartisan effort for change.
In addition to his proposed constitutional amendments on term limits and legislative redistricting, Coxworth said it’s past time for Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan to go.
There’s no minimizing the difficulty of removing Madigan. Indeed, with that as one of his goals, it’s as if Coxworth is walking straight uphill.
Despite the challenge and long odds, Coxworth said he feels compelled to try to persuade others to join his effort.
Married with four children (two grown and two at home), Coxworth is a 1976 graduate of the University of Illinois, a school he remembers with fondness. He majored in political science but went into business after graduation.
“It was a great school. It worked out for me,” he said. “I loved the education I got there.”
Although Coxworth described his organization as bipartisan, it has a GOP tilt to it.
That’s not surprising since his organization’s target is the state’s No. 1 Democrat. Madigan is not only speaker of the House but also chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party.
Coxworth described himself as a “moderate Republican” who is socially conscious but horrified at how poorly elected officials have managed the state’s finances.
“I’m a balance-the-budget kind of guy,” he said.
So far, Coxworth’s effort has drawn considerable media attention. He’s also received favorable comments from strangers he’s met during his walk.
But Coxworth’s timing isn’t great.
If the polls are correct, voters will return Illinois to complete Democratic Party control in two weeks. That means Madigan will have even more power then than he already has now.
But Coxworth noted that opinion polls show that term limits and redistricting reform are popular with the public and, at the same time, that Madigan is deeply unpopular.
That’s why he’s in this fight for the long term.
Coxworth said he’s “never been involved” in politics and is “not running for anything.” He said he decided he doesn’t want to leave the state and can’t ignore what’s happening here.
“When the state has been as good as it has been to me and has so many (good) things going on, I’m not going to flee at the first sign of trouble,” he said.
October 19th, 2018
Illinois man walks hundreds of miles to raise awareness before elections
BLOOMINGTON, Il – McLean County voters will find advisory question on their ballot that asks if they think state leaders should be subject to term limits.
An Illinois man decided to walk thousands of miles to speak to those along the way about what can be done to stop corruption in the state.
Jim Coxworth is the founder of Illinois Citizen Uprising, a non partisan organization. He began his one-man march in Saint Charles a week ago. He passed through Bloomington on Friday after walking 120 miles.The end of his route is Springfield.
During his walk he hopes to share two amendments his organization is calling for which is making term 8 year term limits for state legislators and prohibiting gerrymandering.
“It’s amazing that 80 percent of us support it and we can’t even get it on the ballot. Now there’s something wrong with that. So I want people to get active and I want them to learn about their state legislature and go tell people that if they don’t support these reforms they’re going to vote them out,” said Coxworth, “So the more people we get the more power we have.”
Jim is expected to arrive to the Illinois State Capitol on Tuesday morning.
October 18th, 2018
Coxworth is on a mission to try to save Illinois
Jim Coxworth is making it his mission to save Illinois, which he says has fallen to the wayside because it has been “hijacked by self-serving politicians who have rigged the game to benefit themselves and not the citizens they are supposed to represent.”
To raise awareness for his cause, Coxworth embarked on a 187-mile march to Springfield from his home in Campton Hills. He urged the necessity of three things: term limits, fair legislative maps and the ouster of Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan.Of his background, Coxworth said he’s “a guy who was born in Illinois, raised in Illinois, went to school in Illinois, and I started my businesses in Illinois and raised a family here.”
The 64 year-old owner of business consultancy firm Cratos LLC stated that one day recently, he just up and decided to stop “talking and complaining and do something” about what he perceived to be deep deficiencies in how the state was run.
“It wasn’t so much the politicians, because it’s a new story, same old deal, but the system is somehow broken,” he said. “In order to get true change and get rid of the machine that is really running Illinois politics, we had to change the system, which is what I’m trying to push.”
To that end, Coxworth says his specific aims are the creation of term limits, eight years for all members of the Illinois General Assembly, and ending gerrymandering by appointing an independent legislative mapmaking commission for fair redistricting, by way of adding two amendments to the Illinois Constitution.
“I’m interested in a fair government that espouses competition for the electorate so we get the best ideas in the legislative bodies we have,” he said. “Term limits take the ballgame away from the career politicians, people who care more about getting elected than they do about serving the voters who should be their bosses. So if people served for eight years, you’d get a different group of politicians who aren’t interested in careers; they’d be interested in serving and you’d get new ideas.”
The business owner added that without term limits, more legislators were likely to be seduced by money from special interest groups that “flows all around our state government.”
As far as gerrymandering was concerned, Coxworth admitted that he wasn’t “a policy guy,” but intuitively understood that the quasi-spoils system of legislative districts being setup by the political parties in power was “broken and corrupt.”
“When you’ve got the parties in power also in charge of redrawing voting districts, which, to me, is like a fox in a chicken coop, and we’re the chickens, you’re limiting competition, limiting choices,” he said.
The main impediment to instituting those two reforms, Coxworth believed, was Madigan.
“We know that as long as he’s in power, these measures would have a great deal of difficulty in getting anywhere,” he said.
And he was not afraid to admit that he had no plan or idea as to how to the effect the ousting of Madigan from office, but felt that voting him out was crucial.
“I’m not sure (how we vote him out),” he said. “I think no matter who runs against him, he figures out a way to stay in office. But we have to start somewhere.”
At the moment, Coxworth said he and his organization, the nonpartisan Super PAC Illinois Citizen Uprising, were just dedicated to raising awareness, but “as a fledgling organization, things are changing as we go.
“I think the two reforms we’re interested in are supported by 80 percent of the voters, so it’s incredible to me that we can’t get them on the ballot,” he said. “So the goal of our organization is to bring awareness to the problem but (also) to tell the voters ‘Hey, don’t leave the state, don’t get give up, discouraged.’
“We’ve got the vote, let’s go out and demonstrate in front of their local headquarters and let them know we’re not going to be for any politician, Democrat, Republican or independent, who’s not for these reforms. We don’t care what political stripe you are, we just want these reforms in so we’ll have a better state and a better government.
October 17th, 2018
A Suburban Businessman Stops in Pontiac as he Walks to Springfield
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.”
October 16th, 2018
Walking the walk – not just talking the talk
St. Charles man walks through Morris on his journey to Springfield
DWIGHT – It’s almost 200 miles from St. Charles to Springfield, and James Coxworth has already walked 60.
Coxworth, founder of the nonpartisan group Illinois Citizen Uprising, is walking from his home near St. Charles to the state capital to advocate for term limits, protest gerrymandering and to call for Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan’s removal. His journey brought him through Morris on Sunday.
“[I’m walking] to protest the sorry state of our state government and our broken political system,” Coxworth said as he and his team stopped for lunch at the Route 66 Diner in Dwight on Monday.
According to the group’s website, illinoiscitizenuprising.com, Coxworth’s march will take place primarily on Route 66. Coxworth passed through Morris on his way to the Mother Road.
Coxworth said that all state politicians should be limited to eight years of service, in order to promote “fresh blood and fresh ideas.” Also, normal, everyday citizens should run for office instead of just career politicians.
“I don’t care if they’re Republican or Democrat, as long as they’re for these reforms,” Coxworth said. “If Mike Madigan was a Republican and blocking reforms, we’d still want him gone.”
Illinois Citizen Uprising is also advocating for gerrymandering to be banned, according to the group’s website.
Gerrymandering is when a political party in power redraws district lines in order to favor their party in upcoming elections, and it often is associated with odd-shaped districts.
Coxworth said that his message is to Illinois voters. He wants them to know that they can’t keep doing nothing. They’ve got to get energized and demand change from their leaders.
Decked out in a bright orange T-shirt and several layers of warm clothes,
Coxworth said the worst part of his walk so far has been the cold and blisters.
The best part has been people he has met along the way, including a mailman who pulled over and insisted Coxworth take $5 for lunch.
During Coxworth’s trek through Morris, he was joined for 3 miles by a local Korean War veteran.
Illinois Citizen Uprising media relations manager Heather Davern also joined Coxworth at the diner in Dwight. She said that when Coxworth first came up with the idea back in March, she was excited to help.
“Everybody was against it at first, but I said ‘Why not?’ ” Davern said.
Coxworth said he sleeps in motels at night.
“I’m hardcore, but I’m not camping hardcore,” he said.
Illinois Citizen Uprising will hold a news event at 10 a.m. Oct. 23 in Springfield when Coxworth reaches the Capitol Building.
October 15th, 2018
Fiscal Health – How Does Your State Rank?
It’s no surprise that of the 50 States of America, the most financially healthy states are the ones with the most Term Limits, while those that have no Term Limits remain at the bottom of the barrel (Illinois. Boo!) Regarding Illinois, we check in with Jim Coxworth (IllinoisCitizenUprising.com) who is currently on Day 2 of his March for Term Limits, walking 180 miles from Chicago to the steps of the State Capitol in Springfield. Also in the headlines is Nikki Haley who stepped down as UN Ambassador, citing herself as a believer in Term Limits, while the mainstream media goes nutso trying to figure out why anyone would willfully relinquish power…
October 11th, 2018
Why a Campton Hills man is hiking 187 miles to Springfield
Jim Coxworth has had enough of Illinois politics.
He says he’s sick of the debt, the corruption and the unfunded pensions. He’s tired of career politicians blocking reforms that could effect change.
So on Thursday morning, Coxworth left his Campton Hills home on foot, dressed in a bright orange shirt carrying nothing but a backpack and the Illinois and American flags.
His destination: Springfield.
Earlier this year, Coxworth put his own money into launching Illinois Citizen Uprising, a nonpartisan St. Charles-based organization focused on demanding change in the state legislature. He’s hoping his 187-mile solitary trek will shine a light on two issues in particular: term limits and gerrymandering.
“It’s a broken system,” he said. “If we don’t get active, we’ll never get it fixed.”
The idea to march to Springfield stems from former Gov. Dan Walker, a “dark horse” candidate who campaigned by walking across the state, Coxworth said. The concept was successful in getting Walker elected in 1972, he said, and it might be just unusual enough to get people to pay attention now.
Coxworth, a lifelong Illinois resident, said he wants to see a constitutional amendment that would set eight-year term limits for all members of the General Assembly. He also is pushing for independent maps to stop politicians from drawing their own districts.
To bring upon those reforms, Coxworth said he believes the state needs to get rid of longtime House Speaker Michael Madigan, a Chicago Democrat. Anyone who serves as an obstacle for progress, regardless of their political party, has no place in state government, he said.
Coxworth plans to hike 15 miles each day, ending Oct. 23 at the Capitol steps. He’s expected to pass through the Tri-Cities, Aurora and Morris before heading south on Route 66 until he reaches Springfield. He’ll find hotels and places to sleep along the way — all at his own expense.
“I’m just a small business guy who’s really upset with the state he loves and the way it’s run. It never seems to get better, always just seems to get worse,” Coxworth said. “I’m trying to change the system. It’s nonpartisan. It’s for everybody.”
October 11th, 2018
St. Charles businessman begins 187-mile walk across state
Jim Coxworth pushing for term limits, independent commission to draw legislative maps
ST. CHARLES – St. Charles businessman Jim Coxworth believes that reform is long overdue in Illinois politics.
On Oct. 11, the 64-year-old Coxworth began spreading that message across the state as he embarked on a 187-mile march to Springfield.
The march started with a seven-mile walk from his house in Campton Hills to his office in downtown St. Charles, which is also the headquarters of his nonprofit group Illinois Citizen Uprising.
“I’ve been following Illinois politics for a lot of years,” Coxworth said. “I’ve never been too active because I’m a small business guy. But it seemed like whoever I elected, whatever I did, whatever I tried, the situation kept deteriorating. The debts kept growing higher and the corruption continued and the system didn’t seem to work. It didn’t seem like we were being served.”
Coxworth and his group are calling for two separate amendments to the Illinois Constitution. The amendments call for eight year term limits for all members of the Illinois General Assembly along with an independent commission to draw the legislative maps.
“You’ve got to change the game, because they’ve kind of hijacked the system,” he said. “The game changing idea is to have term limits, eight years and out, and no political gerrymandering so they can’t change all the districts to ensure they always win. They’re going to be out after eight years.”
Coxworth said enacting term limits will solve a few problems.
“It gets rid of the corruption, some of it, not all of it,” he said. “After eight years, you are going to get a whole crop of new people. You get new blood in, fresh ideas. You don’t have someone serving for 40 or 50 years just to hang on to power. That was my idea, to structurally change the rules of the system and bring the power back to the voters and take it away from the career politicians.”
He is funding Illinois Citizen Uprising himself. He is president of Cratos LLC, a business consulting company. Coxworth also runs Hammerman USA, a nonprofit organization committed to training young, disadvantaged boys in the sport of hammer throwing. Coxworth, a former All-American hammer thrower from the University of Illinois, serves as head coach at Hammerman USA.
His wife, Angie, joined him on the first day to give him “moral support.” Following his walk to his St. Charles office, Coxworth took note of the breezy conditions.
“It’s a little windy and a little cold today,” he said. “At least we’re walking with the wind. It would not be a good day if we were walking against the wind.”
If all goes as planned, on Oct. 23, he will arrive at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site and will then walk to his final destination – the Illinois State Capitol. Coxworth, who has a bust of Abraham Lincoln in his office, is a big fan of the 16th president.
“He was a man who did the right thing no matter what public opinion was,” he said.
Among those cheering Coxworth on was supporter Scott Morken, who was born and raised in St. Charles.
“Term limits are something that I have believed in for a long time,” Morken said. “I would love to see something like that take place. Sombody’s got to bring awareness and take a stand, and Jim’s willing to do that.”