Libertarian Party candidate Lex Green Running for Governor of Illinois in 2010
Libertarian Party candidate Lex Green - Conservative - Anti-Civil Unions - Anti-Gay Marriage - Government Reform - Pro- gun - Pro-Life - Pro-Smaller Government - Pro-Term Limits - Protectionist - found it tough to set himself apart as one of two conservatives from Bloomington running for governor of Illinois in 2010, along with the Democratic incumbant, Patrick Quinn,and Scott Lee Cohen, an independent. The Democratic incumbent Patrick J. Quinn, a Democrat won the governorship for a second term with 46.8% of the vote. Lex Green, the Libertarian canidate won .9% of the vote with 34,681 votes.
Content is from the site's 2010 archived pages.
|Who is Lex Green?
|Written by Karen Green
November 20, 2009
|Why is Lex running for Governor of Illinois?
I've been a supporter of Lex since the time I met him at the mall event last summer. I agree with everything he has proposed and find that not only are we on the same page, but he is also willing to consider positions that I'm not hearing from other candidates. After being harmed by Google's search results, I've been pushing to hold them to account regarding privacy issues. If that requires regulation, then so be it. Lex seems to be considering this as well. The privacy issue is huge and citizens should be alarmed that there are no laws compelling Google to remove personal information as there are in the EU. Check out this site to read more. Lex has been working with gun rights folks and I feel that bringing Google under control to protect our privacy is the right position to take given the current lack of oversight. We need some changes now. Bill J Jones
Lex's Views on the Issues of Illinois
|Taxes and spending:
|Corruption in Illinois
|Jobs for Illinois
Public jobs, except for essential services, are a drain on state funds and subsequently to the taxpayer’s finances. It is the state’s responsibility to provide an environment of low taxes and limited regulation to encourage businesses to form and employers to come to Illinois. To achieve that goal, public works programs should be limited to essential services and infrastructure maintenance.
|2nd Amendment / Right to Bear Arms
The best answer to overpriced Healthcare is free markets. Absent that, I favor a state solution to perceived problems in the health care system. I will work to establish by law that all providers use one menu of prices for all health care products and services. Graduated pricing based on individuals’ level of insurance or other class determinant is discriminatory. Menu pricing will re-introduce competition into the health care industry.
Illegal entry into this country is done because of incentives provided by our government and free handouts. This is further complicated by long waits and high fees to come into to the US legally. We must stop luring people into our country with benefits for law breakers, punish those employers who exploit immigrants with substandard wages and reform requirements for legal entry.
|10th Amendment / States Rights
The Constitution of the United States sets forth an agreement between states to provide a limited national government. The Bill of Rights was implemented to establish a list of inalienable rights of individual citizens to be protected. I support any law or resolution that establishes full incorporation of the Bill of Rights and the protection of all other rights of citizens from infringement by the United States national government. Also I support any law or resolution that proposes to protect Illinois citizens from excessive national taxation.
|The Illinois National Guard
As Commander of the Illinois National Guard, it will be my duty to position the troops of Illinois in a way that safeguards the people of Illinois as well as our brave men and women soldiers. The valiant members of the Illinois National Guard are deployed overseas without a legally declared war. I will issue a command to the Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard to return all Illinois Guard members from the field of battle to Illinois for the purposes of protecting the citizens of Illinois. Only upon a declaration of war by the United States Congress will I recognize the authority of the President to command our troops overseas. I will also direct the Adjutant General to recognize that the Guard is to be deployed in this state only for the protection or assistance of the people and never as a federal police force.
|End the Prohibition of Marijuana
Life gives us choices. Every choice we make has consequences. If we are the only ones affected by the consequences, then we can live with that. But if the consequences of our choices hurt others, we have gone too far and we need to rethink our actions. This is where we are with the prohibition of marijuana. Too many people are being hurt by our laws, and those laws are ineffective to achieve the ends for which they were enacted. Marijuana use should be treated in the same way as we treat alcoholic beverages.
I support the strictest limits on Eminent Domain. The right to be secure in the ownership of property is a cornerstone of our Republic and “public use” must exclude all uses that benefit individuals or corporations other than the property’s owner.
Former Governor Blagojevich signed the National Popular Vote Bill in April of 2008. I want to repeal that law and elect Illinois electors proportionally to the percentage of popular vote each candidate receives. This will make Illinois' vote for President fair.
There should be only one set of rules for running for office. The current laws place the Democrats and Republicans at a distinct advantage over all other candidates. I support passage of a law requiring equal ballot access requirements for ALL candidates running for office, regardless of political party affiliation.
1. No Growth Budgeting. Budgets that allow for inflation based growth don’t recognize the fact that there is decades of pork and excess built into our state budget. While I recognize the limit on appropriations growth should be inflation plus population, we have years of shrinking government before we should be talking about spending growth.
2. Pension Reform. The state must pay its pension obligation to rank and file pensioners. But no one deserves a pension higher than what they earned before retirement. We must end early retirement initiatives and incentives. And we must implement a Section 457 defined contribution plan for all new hires.
3. Reduce added costs associated with Bond debt. Only quick and decisive action on reduction of the size of Illinois government will have a permanent effect on our bond ratings. I want to end the practice of paying for past and current appropriations with money borrowed from our grandchildren. It is time to pay for what we buy in the year that we buy it.
4. Both Broad and Specific Budget Cuts. The first thing to do is to cut unnecessary government spending. We need to cut management and unneeded bureaucracy. Also we must get rid of political appointees of previous administrations. And we make sure outside contracts, such as telecommunication, legal and advertising services, are competitive with in-house staff or eliminate them.
5. Deep cuts in Agencies and Grants. Review each grant to determine where cuts should be made and to ensure that programs are necessary and as efficient as possible. Review the mission of each agency, scale them back to only necessary operations, Where ever possible we need to consolidate agencies or eliminate the agency found to be unnecessary. We must eliminate all Foreign Trade offices.
6. Reduce Medicaid fraud and look to sunset Illinois participation. Illinois cannot continue to participate in Medicaid. Although humanitarian in its benefits, the program will bankrupt the state within the next 15 years. We have to face facts, and that means ending a program that threatens to consume all of the productivity gains we expect to see in coming years.
7. Use Zero based budget justification. Every year each agency needs to re-evaluated its mission and re-budget by eliminating unnecessary programs and looking to streamline necessary operations.
8. Issue Additional Casino Licenses. There is no reason to limit casino licenses, except to respect the wishes of individual counties. While we re-prioritize our budgets, we can continue to collect revenue from casinos. But we have no reason to be in the Lottery business. I propose to sell the lottery to the highest bidder.
Of the three great rights, Life is the most fundamental. It is through Life that all other rights begin. And so we guard the right to Life jealously. The next great right, that of Liberty, is what gives meaning to Life. If we are not free, then being alive has little value. We are therefore ready to fight, and even die, to defend our Liberty.
The last of the three great rights is often not given the importance we assign to the first two. We sometimes take Property for granted. We sometimes feel that we can give up our Property because we can protect our Life if we do not stand and fight to defend our right to Property. But in doing so, we give up our true measure of Liberty. By denying the importance of Property, we devalue Liberty, and Life itself.
We acquire Property most fairly if we labor to get it. Whether we are harvesting grain from a field, or putting our wages we have earned in the bank, it is the sweat of our brow that adds value to our lives. Some people have more, and some work harder to get theirs. But when we work, we get to own what we have strived to achieve. If that were not the case, we would not work unless forced to do so.
When we work and enjoy the fruits of our labor, then we are truly free. But when we work and someone else gets to enjoy the end product, we are slaves. This is how we measure Liberty, by how much we can earn and how much we can keep. If you don’t believe this, I want you to send me a signed blank check. Don’t worry about the amount, since you don’t care what you keep. As for me, I want to live my Life free, so I will fight for what I have earned. And I will fight to make sure you keep what you have earned.
Eminent Domain is the power of a government to take private property for public use. There is no question that “public use” can be compelling. Especially when its use ensures our common defense and general welfare. But we have to be careful about taking someone else’s property. We may make it easier to build a road, or establish a park, but what about the cost? What about the value of another man’s Liberty? It is easy to be cavalier about something that belongs to someone else. But if we don’t stand for that person’s rights, our rights are just as vulnerable.
Look at what happened in New London, Connecticut. The Kelo Supreme Court case surprised everyone. Prior to Kelo there were many cases where property was taken, but in all of those cases that came to trial, the eventual owner was the government. The acceptable uses were roads and public use. In the Kelo case, the property was taken by the city then transferred to a private developer. The reasoning was that newer condos would generate more taxes for the city, and therefore were deemed to be acceptable public use, in spite of the fact that the developer stood to profit as well. The Suzette Kelo’s property was taken for private use. Although the owner was compensated, the property was essentially stolen from her.
For this reason and more, I hold each person’s property to be their sacred right. I stand for your right to keep the fruits of your labor. And I will fight the use of Eminent Domain except in cases of dire need where the public’s safety or welfare is threatened. We must be secure in our homes and our Liberty, and our property must be protected. That is the function of government, above all others.
Illinois is well known as one of the hardest states for independents and “third” party candidates to get on the ballot. Fairness is not even considered by current Illinois law, as the parties in power consolidate their dominance over the political process.
There are two ways in which candidates are unfairly excluded. One is unequal petition requirements and the other is a signature disqualification process that allows anyone to challenge signatures.
For the purposes of understanding the following excerpts from the 2010 Candidate’s guide, here are some unofficial definitions. ESTABLISHED PARTY means that the party established itself by getting a required number votes in the previous election cycle. An INDEPENDENT candidate has no political party affiliation and NEW PARTY means that the party either didn’t exist in the previous election cycle, or failed to get more that 5% of the popular vote. The listed requirements are for the candidates for Governor.
Established Party Candidates: Not less than 5,000 nor more than 10,000 primary electors of his or her party. See page 38, Nomination of Established Political Party Candidates. [10 ILCS 5/7-10(a)]
Independent Party Candidates: Minimum of 1% of the number of voters who voted in the last statewide General Election or 25,000 qualified voters of the State, whichever is less. (10 ILCS 5/10-3)
New Party Candidates: Minimum of 1% of the number of voters who voted in the last statewide General Election or 25,000 qualified voters of the state, whichever is less. Whether the petition must include all offices at state level has never been decided. The State Board of Elections will not decide the question outside the context of an electoral board hearing.
As you can see, there is a burden of 5 times more signatures to be gathered by independent and “new party” candidates. This burden is complicated by the disqualification process.
Illinois is one of only three states that allow any voter to object to the signatures submitted by candidates to gain a spot on the ballot. When new party candidates present their signatures, the existing parties can recruit members to challenge signatures. This hurdle to survive challenges puts the number of signatures needed at a much higher number. Realistically, an independent or “new party” candidate must gather 40,000 to 50,000 signatures. That is almost ten times more than required by the established parties.
When elected, I will call for reform of Illinois election law to put all potential candidates on equal footing for ballot access. There will be no more categories for requirements and all candidates for an office will need to get the same number of signatures to get on the ballot.
Taxes and Spending
If the state taxes, the legislature will spend. If the state runs out of revenue, as experience has shown, the legislature will still spend and the governor will sign. There is no hope that spending will be reduced by politicians who want to buy your vote. The only remedy is to take away the revenue. That means drastically reducing taxes across the board and removing their ability to borrow.
If someone takes money out of your wallet or purse, that person is a thief. Even if he or she uses that money for charity, that person is still a thief. That is how taxes work. Politicians invent new ways to spend our money, and then take it directly out of our paychecks. By giving our money to people who would vote for them, they make sure that they will continue their reign of corruption.
The Illinois Constitution states in Article 1, Section 1, that to secure our rights "…and the protection of property, governments are instituted among men." In Article 1, Section 2, it says that "No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law".
Your money is your property. I am willing to let politicians spend a small amount to secure the blessings of freedom. But I never agreed to give a blank check to people who have shown, repeatedly, that they cannot balance a check book. Did you? That is depriving us of our hard earned property.
We are not likely to see our liabilities paid off in the foreseeable future. I am conceding that a minimum amount of taxes must remain in place as we grapple with the reckless spending habits of our politicians. But, we need to cap the revenue and borrowing to cap the spending.
I want to eliminate the 3% income tax. Many states do not have an income tax. I also want to eliminate the gasoline tax, cigarette tax and taxes on alcoholic beverages. It is my opinion that a sales tax is the fairest way to generate revenue. It taxes consumption so that those who can’t afford to spend a lot, pay the least taxes. Anyone who wants a graduated tax can find that sales tax automatically adjusts to income levels, and it encourages saving. It also adjusts to the economic environment so that during these hard times, we can limit our spending and at the same time limit the spending ability of our legislators.
I also want to eliminate taxes on business. There is ample evidence of the value of business tax reduction. Illinois’ business tax code includes tax credits for new job creation and doing business in Free Enterprise zones, as well as a property replacement tax credit. If a little tax reduction helps the economy, a complete repeal of business taxes will more than pay for itself in the form of more jobs and higher incomes.
Many will argue that we can’t continue our current spending habits if we make such drastic cuts. This is exactly my goal. In my first year, I want to cut overall spending across the board by at least 10% the first year. This will give us time to plan an exit strategy from the losing battle of bloated expenditures.
In the second year of my administration, I will drastically pare the size and mission of the State Board of Education as we transfer financial and administrative control to the local districts. I will also gut the Department of Commerce because a vast amount of their spending goes to subsidizing some businesses and industries over others. I will leave the Small Business Administration with a temporary mandate to assist the growth of that vital sector of the business environment. I will partner with private business associations to help transition the economy to a new way of thinking: actual free markets.
The current and past Legislatures have ignored their constitutional mandates. According to the Illinois Constitution, appropriations shall not exceed funds estimated to be available during that year. It also says that emergency debt for failures of revenue must be paid off within one year of the date it is incurred. Both of these mandates have been ignored in blatant violation to our Constitution. Even most of those who voted against tax increases last year voted to increase spending. We have an obligation to vote against spending increases. And we have a Constitutional responsibility to pay off our debt this year.
If we don’t see immediate action to slash spending and taxes, then we need to vote those responsible out of office. They have shown lapses in ethics and common sense, and have broken their promise to defend the Constitution. If the state doesn’t balance its checkbook, it is going to be hard for us regular citizens to balance ours. We are in a state of fiscal emergency and business as usual is not an option.
Jobs for Illinois
Something doesn't add up in the status quo. All across this great land, and increasingly for Republicans and Democrats, the status quo for job creation is public works. And the way to pay for public works is to raise taxes. That is the best solution our brightest legislative minds can come up with. We need a dose of common sense.
Most public jobs do not create a product. They do not add value to society; only administrate the general welfare at the cost of the taxpayer. Although many are necessary, most public jobs are a drain on the economy, because private citizens have support those jobs at a cost to their own finances. This is not to say that all administration is useless, only that the more you have, the greater the burden on the economy.
Public works jobs are a different animal. Because we need infrastructure improvements, "shovel ready" jobs add a modicum of value to the general welfare. But they do so with the same tax cost as administration jobs, so we don't really gain value overall, only move money from the private sector to the public domain. As important as such improvements are, that is not a good approach to job creation. Public works jobs, except for maintenance, are primarily one time projects, such as building a road or a school. Once built, we are back where we started from. The added value roads and schools put into society makes the project worthwhile but in terms of job creation, they are a costly and temporary solution.
It is in the private sector that value is added to the economy. Factories take raw materials, combine that with labor, and make useful items to sell. Service companies take skilled labor and leverage those skills in the market place to help customers and assist them in adding value. In reward for working in these jobs, workers take wages home for saving, putting food on the table, and sending their children to college.
The villain in this drama is a government that taxes too much. Have you ever heard the complaint "My take home pay won't take me home"? Workers net wages are less when taxed, causing them to spend less. Less demand lowers prices and cuts into profits. This causes a downward spiral as companies look for ways to cut costs and, eventually, payroll. When you add taxes on the businesses themselves, other states and countries begin to look good to the struggling companies.
This is Illinois today. Businesses and even people are leaving the state because of the burden of unrestrained spending by Illinois' politicians. It doesn't take a genius to see that what has been done in the past is hurting our state. If you keep doing the same thing over and over, you will always get the same result. I want to make a very important but fundamental change. Let's lift the burden.
Let's get together and work for a prosperous Illinois. A business friendly state is a job friendly state. We can attract business by taking away the punishment that taxes success. Overall revenues will blossom when jobs are plentiful. That must be our goal.
I strongly believe that the best way to control costs in any industry, health care include, is free markets. But health care is an industry that is one of the most regulated by our federal government. Therefore we must think of an alternate approach.
Not all issues are cut and dried when we try to apply consistent principles. Often the application of ideas can bring about an unexpected position. This is the case with my stand on health care costs. After all, it is not the government's responsibility to regulate commerce except to make it fair. So how does that lead to a Libertarian solution for out of control health care costs?
The solution that I want to bring to the issue is to enforce competition such as should occur in a free market health care arena. We can't say that the health care market can decide, because the industry is tied down with a labyrinth of government regulations and interference from the insurance industry that is also laden with regulation. So the best answer is to tie in place a competitive system that can be the catalyst for introducing more competition and fostering an environment where government intrusion can be weaned out.
Looking at competition, from basics we know that supply and demand affect prices. Since we have a big but limited supply of health care and a virtually limitless demand, we naturally expect prices to be high, and we are not surprised to find that to be true. But we can make sure they are not pushed higher by non-market forces.
Let's look at one example to see how the prices become unstable. Consider an aspirin administered in a hospital. Many of us are familiar with the $100.00 aspirin. Why should a hospital be able to charge such an outrageous amount? I don't accept that dosing sensitivities or other medical magic determines price. If I had to pay that out of pocket, I would have a friend sneak in a $1.99 bottle and the case is closed. So why would this happen?
The answer that we all know is that we don't have to pay for it. Directly. If insurance agrees to pay $100.00 for a pill, that is not worth arguing about. And yet, if the insurance company and the hospital can negotiate a price without patient involvement, then there is no way that competition will ever push the price down. Ask me what I am willing to pay and there is a good chance I could save the insurance company about $99.00.
This example is common, although the results are different for different people. If I come into the health care provider with my top of the line Blue Cross PPO plan, I can be sure that even though the provider wants to charge $100.00 for a routine visit, my plan will negotiate a price of $70.00. I then pay my portion of the $70.00 and everyone is happy. Everyone?
Maybe the next person has Medicare and Medicare agrees to pay $50.00 for that same visit. That is still better than $100.00, but we didn't get treated the same. Nor will the next person, who comes in without any insurance and gets billed for the whole $100.00. The person who may be least able to pay is charged the most. Unless that person is indigent, in which case the whole bill may be written off by the doctor. In each of these cases where insurance is involved, the patient is incidental to the financial part of the transaction.
Since Medicare represents a public subsidy, and the private PPO represents a private subsidy, competition does not occur and prices remain artificially high. There is no incentive for the provider to compete for your money, nor for you to shop for the best price. This is a complicated but obvious price fixing scheme in which the patient is incidental to the negotiation.
This situation is also potentially discriminatory. The obvious distinction from first sight is one of employment. The PPO plan may likely be provided by an employer, since such high priced plans are out of reach for most people. The Medicare plan is often for lower income, elderly and handicapped people. And, too, the uninsured may be from the ranks of the unemployed or those in jobs that pay less. This leaves open the potential for class distinctions that are unfair or provide unequal access based on some attribute of the consumer. Not everyone in a free market can afford all levels of service, but this market isn't free and benefits are not proportional to any attribute of the patient, only of the insurance plan.
If we were to mandate that all prices must be advertised equally, regardless of patient or the patient's class distinctions, then the patient is reintroduced into the price negotiation process. This would be like a menu of prices for the patient's consumption. For example, a regular visit will be charged at $90.00 to all who enter. If an insurance company pays for only $80.00, then the patient pays $10.00. Unless the office down the street offers the same treatment for less. The patient can then choose the lesser price. Competition is again in effect for the benefit of the consumer. The downward pressure on prices will have the same effect as free markets in an otherwise over-regulated business.
The same can be said for services that are paid for by job or by the hour. As long as the price is advertised and the menu is the same for all customers, the provider is at risk of losing business if the rate is too high.
One of the advantages of this solution to escalating health care costs is that it can be done at the state level without the need for national government interference. In fact, national initiatives attempt to insert more layers of regulation which will further marginalize the consumer. Along with some modest improvements to insurance rules that also encourage a freer market, the present national plan could be pre-empted entirely.
I favor a state solution to perceived problems in the health care system. I will work to establish by law that all providers use one menu of prices for all health care products and services. Graduated pricing based on individuals' level of insurance or other class determinant is discriminatory. Menu pricing will re-introduce competition into the health care industry.
My mother was a grade school teacher for 35 years and I remember very well the lessons learned from her stories. Some of her students were my age and I know that she had a profound effect on many of them, because we became friends in high school. Obviously teachers are very important. They are the second line of action in the education of children.
The first line starts at home. There were so many times I heard my mother talk of how the parents of problem children undermined their child’s education. Instead of working with the teacher, they would defend the poor behavior and bad work habits of the child and attack the teacher. Luckily this was not the rule. But it drove home to me how important parents are in their children’s education.
Thus I have a bottom up view of effective education. The most important teacher is the parents. The next most important person is the teacher. Next comes the principal, then the board members, and so on. With this in mind, I think we need to concentrate our resources at the bottom of the education pyramid and eliminate interference from the state and federal governments at the top.
I favor dramatically reducing the scope of the $11 Billion State Board of Education. I don’t think we are getting $11 Billion worth of education from our investment. And we still pay property taxes. Most districts only get about 30% of their money back from the state. So it is safe to say that the money is not wisely spent. If we reduce the size of the SBOE to a minimum mission of dealing with indigent children and the very poorest of districts, we can balance the state budget and begin the task of eliminating taxes. With more money in their pockets, parents can afford the local costs associated with education.
Freed from the weight of mandates and bureaucracy, local districts can take control and allow good teachers to innovate. Local boards can make decisions that better respond to the needs of their community. For example, open enrollment decisions and associated vouchers could be handled between school districts. Charter school creation would not be capped by the state. There is no reason to have the state intervene in these decisions. Plus, competition between districts will help keep costs low and standards high.
In keeping with the recognition that a child’s most important teacher is the parent, then homeschooling must be understood and maintained as a valuable option for families in Illinois. Parents have the right and responsibility to educate their children in a manner which best suits the needs of the individual parent and child. When such options are open to families, not only do our children benefit, but society does as well. Any action taken by the state to limit homeschooling would be in direct opposition to the well being of the citizens of Illinois.
We need to put the responsibility of education where it belongs: in the home and in the community. Illinois cannot afford big government interference in our schools.
Corruption in Illinois
Illinois’ corruption problem is no different than the political corruption that plagues the whole country. The recent scandal with former Governor Blagojevich bared much of the problem. Upon close examination of the documents that were released by federal prosecutors, there is a common thread to all of the corruption. That thread weaves consistently through the campaign finance funds of the former Governor.
In almost every case of wrongdoing alleged to have occurred, the money was to be contributed to the Friends of Rod Blagojevich, which was his campaign fund. His reelection chances increased with every political favor he granted, and with every arm he twisted. This is how political corruption works.
So how do we fix this problem? We must make elected officials obey the law, enforcing ethics upon people who already have no respect for the law. I do not feel that limiting contributions is right or effective. If a candidate is disallowed from freely spending his or her money on campaigning, certainly the backing party is not so bound. Neither are friends or family, unless we try to straight jacket the whole nation in fear of an extra dollar being spent.
Ultimately the electorate is responsible for their choices. We get the government we vote for, so if we put no care into our votes, we also must be indifferent to corruption when it occurs. But that leads to poor governance which in turn leads to degradation of the general welfare. This is unfair punishment upon those of us who do care about issues and principles.
The evolution of the political process also has led to the false sense that if a program is popular, then it should be passed even when it is unconstitutional. The monster that results is more like the democracy our founding fathers feared than the republic we used to pledge allegiance to. In that democratic monster, politicians pass programs that shower benefits upon the public, and they are rewarded with votes for re-election. It is no wonder that respect for the Constitution has become rare.
The only answer that I can see that retains the principles of Freedom of Speech and at the same time moves to limit abuse of power, is to limit politician’s terms in office. There still exists the opportunity for corruption, because the root of corruption runs deeper than the elected official. The power of the major parties, with their ability to funnel funds, still exists. And a threat exists that freshmen legislators will be too eager to learn the ropes from those wielding that power. But in the end that power will be diluted.
By limiting the number of terms that a politician can serve, the parties and the power brokers will have to look for new avenues for their abuse each election. That means that honesty and integrity will have a chance to surface at the polls and on the floor of the Legislature.
For this reason, I have decided to support the Putback Amendment. The amendment has several elements that are designed to put fairness back in the electoral process. One of this is term limits. If we can get this amendment to the Illinois Constitution passed, we will be taking giant steps toward more responsible and ethical government.
Only through constitutional amendment can we permanently mitigate the abusive power that has become commonplace in Illinois. And only we, the people, can make this change. We must change this system of corruption for ourselves, and for our future.
2nd Amendment / Right to Bear Arms
I am guilty of saying it wrong. We have a right to keep and bear arms. It’s not our Constitutional right. It is not our Second Amendment right. I have heard it said so many times, and I often repeat it. “It’s our Constitutional right to own a gun.” Well, that is just flat wrong.
Our rights don’t come from the Constitution. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights do not give us any individual rights. But we do have each of those rights that are enumerated in the Bill of Rights. Our rights are inherent. They derive from a higher source than the Constitution. They are not Constitutional rights. They are OUR rights.
Yes, the Second Amendment does codify and enumerate that our right to own a gun shall not be infringed. But please note that “the right to keep and bear arms” is mentioned as a pre-existing condition. In fact, the very idea that we have to get permission for this, or any other right, is absurd.
So why all of the fuss? If our right to gun ownership is inherent in us, why should there be any question about legality? Well, I want to know that, also. I want to know just what gives someone the right to take my guns from me or to fine or imprison me for having one. Or for using it legally.
I understand that guns are dangerous. They are just as dangerous as cars, hammers and screw drivers. They are just as dangerous as chain saws, knives and baseball bats. Owning any of these things is legal. And your right to own them carries with it a responsibility to use them safely. And you have a right to use them in self defense. The same holds true for guns.
The difference is that politicians seek to control us. Those who govern by the true principles of Liberty would never seek to disarm us. But only by keeping a well armed police but then denying us arms can the despot or the tyrant wield the power to steal our property, By taking or restricting our right to gun ownership they give themselves power over the citizenry.
But our founding fathers gave us methods of protecting Liberty that strikes a balance in our favor. Those who wrote the Constitution feared a standing army. They knew that a permanent military was a constant threat to our rights. Consider this Congressional duty from Article I, Section 8 of our Constitution:
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
The limited two year term funding was designed to protect us from those that would use a standing army against us. A permanent army without a war is a potential threat to society.
In today’s world, there is ample reason to be prepared for external threat. The ability of Liberty’s enemies to strike quickly makes a standing army the best defense for our borders. It is better to keep Armed Forces ready for defense than to believe that we can close our eyes and tyranny will depart from this earth. But having that army in spite of the founding fathers’ warning means we need to be ever vigilant to possible abuse.
The remedy that Madison, Jefferson and Hamilton all agreed on was a citizen militia, made up of all able body people, all of whom owned guns. This was the check on unrestrained power that a military puts in the hands of politicians. And this is the corollary responsibility that comes with the right to bear arms. We must exercise this right so that the vision of limited government we were given in the 18th century does not pass into oblivion.
If you ask me to sign a Concealed Carry law when it passes my desk, I will oblige. I would like even better an Open Carry law. But my position on that issue is that we already have that right. You don’t need my permission. Unfortunately, politicians in Chicago, Springfield and points beyond do infringe on your right to gun ownership. They do so by confiscation of guns and imprisonment of gun owners. They use fear and force to stop you from exercising your responsibility and your right.
They also advertise fear facts to make you think that guns are a problem and that they, the politicians, are protecting us. Believe this at your own peril. They “protect” us by making us fear their punishments. Thomas Jefferson noted that when we fear our government, we have tyranny. It is time to take that fear away.
I am opposed to bans on any gun or rifle, and I am opposed to FOID cards.
I also encourage everyone to join the NRA, the ISRA, and check out www.gunssavelife.com. I also urge you to join me on March 10, 2010 when the ISRA sponsors Illinois Gun Owners Lobby Day in Springfield. Last year IGOLD had 5,000 people to march on the Capitol. We want to get 10,000 in 2010.
I am a lifelong Illinois resident, living on a family farm near Waynesville until the age of seven. Although I have not worked on a farm since I was employed by Funk’s Seed Company part time in 1973, the wisdom and life lessons I learned from my farming background will last with me a lifetime. But a lot has changed since I left the farming industry. Family farms have decreased, large corporate farms enjoying millions in government subsidies have increased, and taxes and regulations continue to be on the rise. It is these things, and ultimately my firm belief in the efficiency and fairness of free markets, that lead me to my political solutions for the farming industry. In fact, I believe the solutions I propose for all Illinois business will also benefit agribusiness.
Farming has a fundamental difference compared to other businesses. It is literally tied to the land. When other businesses struggle, they can pack up shop and move. In fact, a record number of businesses are leaving Illinois because of the burden of high taxes and increasingly complicated regulations. However, a farmer is anchored to his farm. For this reason, a free and prosperous state is even more important to farming. As goes the state economy, so goes profitability for the farming community.
This brings home an important point to the farmer. If subsidies rob from other citizens and from other businesses, then the market for corn and soybeans will suffer. Government involvement in any market artificially sets prices and limits competition. Only free markets can offer the general prosperity that drives up sales and profits, while at the same time also driving down costs for consumers.
My position for all businesses is to reduce or eliminate taxes and reduce regulations. The reduced costs of production will help farmers and the state. I oppose tax credits because they target one industry, when a total elimination of that type of tax would benefit all Illinois business.
Among my positions of interest to agribusiness:
- Eliminate the state income tax
- Eliminate the state inheritance tax
- Eliminate the state motor fuel tax
- Reduce regulations that prohibit, limit or delay livestock farm operation
- Reduce regulations on ethanol plant development and operation
Along with being freed of burdens of excessive taxation, comes the responsibility to compete fairly in a free market. For this reason, I oppose funding of subsidies such as C-FAR. These funds should come from private sources and business alliances. Although not a popular position in most business sectors, as a state, we have proven that Illinois can no longer support a bloated government. We cannot continue to prop up any sector of our economy at the expense of others. I feel the farming community will grow stronger when the Illinois and Federal governments are reduced to just providing essential services. That is the vision of our founding fathers and it is one that I share.
Electoral college reform is an issue that becomes popular every four years, but then disappears for the intervening three. The frustration voters feel is often centered on states with large cities that control the electors, leaving the rest of the state out of the process. Illinois is just such a state. But I want to make it perfectly clear, it is not about city dwellers versus downstate farmers. This is about how the two major parties have perverted the intent of the Constitution and use it to maintain political control.
The electoral college is a problem, but not for the reasons that we typically hear about. Because most states throw their complete slate of electors behind the candidate with the most popular vote, the one political party now has control over the whole state. A true representation of popular will is missing because the electoral slate is made up of only one party’s electors. In this way, the parties have hijacked the process. What should be a chance to put Constitutional ideals into action has become a chance for two parties to run roughshod over the national debate. Not only is the minority party disbarred from representation, but both of the major parties have made it nearly impossible for a third party or candidate to be represented.
Now to further distance us from fairness, Illinois has joined a number of states who say they will choose their electors, not from the popular vote in the state, but from the most popular candidate across the country. The current law, signed by Governor Rod Blagojevich, won’t take affect until a majority of other states join in. But it says that the candidate receives the most votes in the general election will get Illinois’ electors regardless of the popular vote in the state. This further assures that third parties will have no representation in the national election. The sovereignty of the state of Illinois has been diminished even more.
There is a better choice than abolishing the electoral college, as is proposed by many, or giving up state sovereignty as the National Popular Vote law dictates. A simple reform can restore sanity to the process. We need to remove the Popular Vote law, and reform the selection of electors fairly.
We need to base our elector selection on the congressional districts. This is already done in Maine and Nebraska. These states allocate two Electoral Votes to the popular vote winner, and then one each to the popular vote winner in each Congressional district. If we do this, all parties will get fair representation while avoiding the winner take all pitfall of the current method.
This more fairly represents the state. If all states participate, then we reduce the likelihood of a President being elected without the most popular vote without further eroding state sovereignty. Even if Illinois joined Nebraska and Maine as the only states to do this, the election would still be fairer. This is reform that can be done by the state without the need for Constitutional amendment.
The Illinois National Guard
The current wars throughout the Middle East are being waged without a constitutionally required declaration. Until we have a constitutionally declared war by Congress, I do not recognize Presidential authority to endanger the valiant members of the Illinois National Guard. I do not consider Nation building and police actions to be constitutional. It will be my duty, as Commander of the Illinois National Guard, to recall any Illinois troops home from foreign lands. And I will not release them to service overseas without a Congressional declaration of war.
I want to make it clear from the outset that I am neither a dove nor a hawk. As a gubernatorial candidate, I am not in a position to review sensitive national security papers nor to have access to intelligence that is in the hands of Congress and the President. However, I do have an understanding of what the Constitution of the United States says and some insight into how the powers of the President have grown over more than 200 years. And I detest the political maneuvering that goes on when the lives of our brave soldiers are at stake.
The Constitution clearly states that the power to declare war is in the hands of Congress, NOT the President. Past presidents have pushed the limits of their power with the blessing of Congress. In fact, with each foreign policy emergency, Congress seems willing to grant ever increasing war powers to the President. The fact is that the last declared war we sent our men and women to fight was World War II.
If we had a constitutionally declared war, and that war was prosecuted with the full might of our military force, we would have achieved our goals in a few years. Instead, our elected leaders are using this hostile action as another tool in their political squabbles. Sending another 30,000 troops to Afghanistan is not the way to win a war. It is political appeasement. It recklessly puts our troops in harm’s way.
The current police actions in Iraq and Afghanistan are authorized by the President under the Authorization for Use of Military Force, Public Law 107-40 [S.J. RES. 23] and the Authorization for Use of Military Force, Public Law 107-243 [H.J. RES. 114] passed in 2001 by the 107th Congress. Both resolutions specify no enemy other than “terrorists”. Neither resolution sets objectives, geographical boundaries, or time limits.
Those resolutions rely on the War Powers Resolution of 1973 for validity. That resolution is considered by most to be unconstitutional but never tested. It was passed over a presidential veto. The limit of those powers was that it forbade armed forces from remaining for more than 60 days. Thus, Congress, President Bush, and now President Obama are relying on illegal declarations to justify the continued involvement of our brave men and women on foreign soil against an unspecified enemy. It is time we bring our brave men and women of the Illinois National Guard home.
10th Amendment / States Rights
The primary mechanism for enforcing states rights is for the state legislature to pass legislation the effectively overrides national law. This method has been used ever since this nation was founded. Although it is not well reported in the media, this method of “nullifying” federal law is being used today in many states. I will join those states in the popular movement to re-establish the sovereignty of states in the face of unconstitutional federal law.
The following is a list of efforts that have been passed or considered in other states. I am a supporter of those efforts and will encourage and sign any similar legislation.
Firearms Freedom Act: I will join Montana and 11 other states in overriding national gun restrictions within Illinois.
Nullification of Real ID: Illinois already has joined 33 other states effectively nullifying the RealID Act.
Health Care Bill: Although six states failed to pass a law declaring the new Health Care Bill unconstitutional, Arizona and 6 other states are considering just such a bill. That law is unconstitutional and I support its nullification.
Bring the National Guard Home: Wisconsin and 6 other states have introduced legislation to bring the troops home because the undeclared war is illegal. I will not wait for legislation. I will use my authority as Commander in Chief of the Illinois National Guard to start bringing our brave soldiers home immediately. Please refer to my issues page for more information.
Constitutional Tender: Indiana and 3 other states have shown their concern about the unconstitutional and reckless Federal Reserve by introducing nullification of federal legal tender law. I wholeheartedly support this type of legislation.
All of the above information was compiled from the following web site: www.tenthamendmentcenter.com.
I have taken the Tenth Amendment Pledge at that site and my pledge can be viewed at the following web page: http://pledge.tenthamendmentcenter.com/the-signers