Previously, I discussed the Illinois Senate seat vacated by Obama/Burris. This is the second installment of Midterm races that I'm profiling. The Governor's seat in Springfield, Illinois is the next battle in discussion, where Incumbent Pat Quinn (D) and VERY conservative nutcase Bill Brady (R) are going neck-and-neck. Also keeping the race close are Green Party's Rich Whitney (who was known as Rich Whitey" in some voting machines in Chicago), Libertarian Party's Lex Green, and former Democrat-turned Independent and former Quinn running mate Scott Lee Cohen.
The candidate's Lieutenant Governors are: Sheila Simon (D), Jason Plummer (R), Don W. Crawford (G), Ed Rutledge (L), and Baxter B. Swilley (I).
I have included the 3 third-party challenger's key positions so people could be more familiar with them.
Brady is lying when he says that he "won't push a 'social agenda.'"
Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady seems to be getting the best of both worlds this campaign season. His sometimes extreme, socially conservative views have earned him respect from state Republicans--even Tea Partiers--but not talking about these issues on the campaign trail has kept him ahead in the polls for months.
In recent weeks, however, Governor Pat Quinn has released several ads making Brady's anti-choice, anti-gay rights and pro-gun views public knowledge. Quinn has seen a boost in polling numbers. The Chicago Sun-Times endorsed Quinn, saying that Brady lives in an "ideological box that shuts out real people and real pain." But will usually moderate voters get to know what Brady stands for in time for it to make a difference in the voting booth? Not if Brady has his way.
In an interview with the Daily Herald on Monday, Brady said he does not have a social agenda he plans on pushing if elected governor. So, all that talk about teaching creationism in schools, banning abortion even in cases of rape and incest and banning civil unions will have no effect on his governing?
In my 30 years in Illinois politics, I have never seen a nominee for Governor who is more anti-woman and more anti-family than Bill Brady. Bill Brady is not your garden-variety downstate conservative. He is an extreme right-wing candidate and an activist leader in the fight to make abortion illegal, even in the case of rape or incest. He aims to set back women's rights not just one generation, but several generations.
Where does Bill Brady stand on women's issues?
• Brady supports a law in Illinois to ban abortion, even in cases of rape or incest.
• Brady supports amending the U.S. Constitution to make abortion illegal with no exceptions.
• Brady supports a law allowing pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions based on moral or religious objections, denying patients medicine for birth control, emergency contraception, HIV medications, anti-depressants for post-partum-depression, etc.
• Brady was one of only two legislators to vote against stopping "Drive-Thru Deliveries," when HMOs were throwing women out of hospitals, against their doctors' advice, less than 24 hours after delivering a baby.
• Brady was one of only four legislators to vote against the voluntary check-off on the Illinois income tax form for cervical and breast cancer research.
• Brady voted against requiring insurance companies to pay for prescription contraceptive drugs, even when these same companies cover male enhancement drugs.
• Brady has voted against Family Medical Leave, equal pay for equal work for women, and stem cell research.
First Posted: 10-20-10 03:00 PM | Updated: 10-20-10 03:05 PM
Often in politics, there's one mistake that a candidate, try though he might, can never escape. It takes over his campaign, becomes his characterization -- think John Kerry getting stuck with "flip-flopper," or Dukakis' Willie Horton albatross.
For Illinois's Republican candidate for Governor, the issue that sticks to him through the campaign, oddly enough, might not be his far-right views on abortion or his scorn for the minimum wage. Instead, a bill he sponsored just after winning the Republican nomination -- and then quickly abandoned -- is following Bill Brady throughout election season.
The bill would have allowed the use of gas chambers for mass euthanasia of dogs and cats, reversing a ban enacted the year before by the state legislature.
Early this week, Brady promised that, if elected governor, he would veto any bill that would allow mass euthanasia of pets.
Why, then, did he sponsor a bill to do just that?
First Posted: 10- 6-10 12:11 PM | Updated: 10- 6-10 12:11 PM
Where does Bill Brady stand on evolution and creationism?
As Election Day approaches, Brady, the Republican candidate, holds a lead in most polls of the governor's race, despite having views on social issues significantly to the right of the average Illinoisan. So it's a question that inquiring minds might find themselves asking.
One of those minds was on the Sun-Times editorial board Tuesday, when Brady and his running mate, Jason Plummer, sat down for a lengthy interview.
Brady was asked over and over about his personal views on evolution. He repeatedly avoided the question, saying only that he believed that local school districts should be able to teach creationism if they please.
"I believe knowledge is power, and I believe local school districts should establish the curriculum when it comes to those things," Brady said.
As for his own views, Brady was stubborn in his evasiveness.
"My knowledge and my faith lead me to believe in both evolution and creationism," he said.
"So you believe in intelligent design?"
"I believe that God created the earth and it evolved."
Here are some ads as to why Bill Brady should NOT be Governor of Illinois.
Brady will ruin education in Illinois
Why Bill Brady is bad for Illinois?
Bill Brady "Conflict of Interest" - Quinn For Illinois
Previously On: "The Governor's Race"
Scott Lee Cohen's positions:
There are many perspectives on immigration, a complicated and controversial issue that will not be easily solved. It primarily requires action on the federal level. Scott supports common sense security standards for entry into our land. He strongly believes that we also need a path to legal residency and naturalization for undocumented immigrants who have been living, working, and raising families in our country.
As Governor, Cohen will advocate for women’s equal pay in the workforce. This applies both to public and private jobs. He will insist on regular reports of progress and of lagging industries or departments. Increasing the number of women in management and leadership positions will also be an important goal of the Cohen administration. And he will make a real difference with his own appointments. We have come a long way since women’s suffrage, but there is obviously much work left in order to get everyone on an equal footing.
Cohen is a committed supporter of a woman’s right to choose and of a woman’s right to privacy in making such choices.
Cohen believes that quality, affordable health care should be available to all Illinois residents. He supports the federal health care reform act, but understands that it will take time to determine the ultimate impact of the reform on Illinois – while the law is phased in and implemented in detail. As Governor he will provide the fullest state cooperation to ensure that provisions of the reform, like the new minimum standards of behavior for insurance companies, are carried out for the benefit of the people of Illinois.
Economy & Jobs
Three simple, powerful steps to jumpstart our economy:
- Re-stimulate the economy. Scott is committed to recruiting new businesses and manufacturers to locate in Illinois, to encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation within our great state, and to helping existing businesses to thrive.
How do we accomplish this? With a laser focus, accountability, and action that helps both businesses and workers. We will re-build confidence in our state economy by providing an economic environment that promotes growth and spurs private businesses to hire. Scott will cut red tape and bureaucratic bottlenecks; invest in infrastructure; and support small businesses by increasing access to capital and reducing the cost of doing business in Illinois.
Cohen’s pragmatic economic policy is not be based on tired "republican" or "democratic" thinking, but on fresh independent thinking about what matters to Illinois – a robust economy and high-paying jobs. Scott will implement a full-scale marketing program to attract new businesses to Illinois. If need be, he will personally "market" Illinois opportunities to other states and even other countries.
- Connect people with current job openings now. We will hold Job Fairs in every corner of the state. The efficient distribution of information is crucial to helping the unemployed get jobs. A Cohen administration will set up a Job Database that all employers, public and private, can use to post openings. There are good jobs available now, people need easier ways to find them.
- Restructure Jobs Incentive Plan. Tax breaks only go so far. If elected, Governor Cohen will implement a cost-benefit analysis of business taxes and regulations. In order for businesses to invest long-term and create good middle-class jobs in Illinois, we must provide incentives that are more fundamental than tax breaks. We must commit to smart infrastructure investments — the most powerful incentives for businesses to move to Illinois. The infrastructure that moves people, products, capital, and information quickly, cheaply, and securely is at the heart of a thriving economy.
"If Illinois is serious about educating our kids, move the truancy age to 18, making sure kids have every opportunity to graduate high school and beyond"
–Scott Lee Cohen
As Governor of Illinois, Scott Lee Cohen will work with the legislature to raise the minimum age at which a student can drop out of school, from 16 to 18. Illinois must take concrete steps to reduce the drop-out rate. Leaving school too soon is the first step in the wrong direction that many dropouts take on the road toward drugs and crime.
Rich Whitney's positions:
My position on the rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, and Transgender persons, and persons of other "unconventional" sexual orientations (queer-identity, intersex, polyamorous and others) can be summarized very succinctly:
I stand for equal protection under the law, equal rights in society and the workplace, and for embracing diversity.
Therefore, allowing gays and lesbians to marry under the law has absolutely nothing to do with religion. There is nothing sacred about it; the sacredness of marriage cannot come from government. This is a matter in which we "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s." Gays and lesbians are entitled to the same protection, the same legal rights and the same rights under civil society as heterosexuals. Period.
The Second Amendment, Gun Violence and Gun Control
Gun violence in our society is an issue that demands serious, decisive action. From the horrific school shootings that have periodically exploded since Columbine, to the senseless shootings occurring during domestic violence, to the epidemic of gang or drug-related shootings in the most economically deprived sections of Chicago, everyone knows that the problem is urgent.
The question is not whether to act; the question is how to act.
On the one hand, many supporters of the right to bear arms argue that when responsible, law-abiding citizens are allowed to carry firearms with them for protection, they are not only personally protected but violent crime is deterred and curbed.
On the other hand, gun-control advocates argue that the proliferation of handguns and other firearms in our society, and the relative ease by which dangerous and irresponsible persons gain access to them, are obviously at the heart of the problem of gun violence in America.
Both sides have a point, although the evidence and social science have not provided clear answers. Although there is some correlation between gun proliferation and gun violence, it does not demonstrate causation. Switzerland, for example, has high gun ownership rates but low violence, while Mexico has low gun ownership rates and high violence. Likewise, there is at least some evidence that the right to carry firearms by qualified persons does deter some gun violence – but it is difficult to prove with certainty because there is no way in which to conduct a perfectly controlled experiment. There are too many other factors that contribute to the level of violence in society.
That said, voters still need to know where I stand on Second Amendment issues and specifically on the right to carry firearms. The short answer is, I support the right to carry firearms, but only: a) with a high threshold to qualify, and b) with allowances for individual counties in the State of Illinois to opt out and maintain the status quo, if consistent with the Second Amendment.
We presently live in a highly militarized society, with an over-powerful federal executive branch that has engaged in murderous activity in other countries, including illegal invasions, torture and assassinations, all to serve the interests of a small corporate elite that today dominates government. I do not wish to grant to that government, or its state and local junior partners, the exclusive authority to possess firearms. History provides numerous examples of extensive gun control and/or governmental disarmament of the people helping to pave the way for totalitarian rule.
In a democratic republic, the people must have a right to bear arms, within reasonable limits. An armed people can be an important check on the oppressive use of force, whether from a government that deigns to turn on its people, or by others. This right, like the other rights designed to protect individuals contained in our Bill of Rights, won by the bloodshed of our Revolutionary forebears, is one of our Constitutional birthrights.
However, I also support and respect local autonomy and grassroots democracy – which is not only a Green Party value but an American value. Thus, while the right to bear arms must be protected and respected, we should also respect the right of the people, upon deliberation, to set their own limits on the application and extent of that right.
That should be the default position in the State of Illinois. However, in deference to grassroots democracy and local autonomy, county governments should be permitted to opt out of the right to carry – but not the right to possess a firearm in one’s own home.
Closely connected with our economic goals, in order to transform the economy so that it serves the people, the Illinois Green Party is dedicated to the goal of empowering working people. Thus, we support government policies that will improve the quality of life for working people in all areas, not only materially, but also with respect to more leisure and family time, access to health care, better working conditions, and a better environment, both inside and outside the workplace.
The objective of empowering workers means supporting workers’ right to organize. At the national level, we call for the repeal of the Taft-Hartley Act and similar measures, that will make it easier for workers to organize without interference from their employers and to bargain with the employers effectively.
The Illinois Green Party also supports other measures to improve working conditions and the quality of life for workers, such as lowering the workweek with no loss in pay; requiring larger employers to provide paid maternity leave, health and pension benefits and paid vacations; better enforcement of occupational safety and health standards, and a law that would protect workers from being fired without just cause.
The United States is the only industrialized country in the world that does not guarantee health care for its population.
The U.S. spends far more on health care per person than any other country in the world – in fact more than twice as much as the average for other rich countries. We have the best technology and certainly among the finest physicians. Yet we are not getting our money’s worth in terms of good health.
Why? First of all, we, the consumers, and employers, are necessarily picking up the tab for insurance company profits, as well executive salaries that run into the millions, or even tens of millions. Because we have nowhere else to turn, they have a fairly captive market, with inelastic demand.
Second, insurers make money by not paying bills. They have incentives to erect administrative hurdles – by complicating and stalling payment they can hold premiums longer, boosting their interest income. Such hurdles also discourage some patients and providers from pursuing claims. In short, their profits rise when they can find ways to avoid paying bills, passing them on to either the government, other insurers, or to you, the patients.
Third, functions essential to private insurance but absent in public programs – such as underwriting, marketing, and corporate services – account for about two-thirds of private insurers’ overhead. But the waste that results from the system of private insurers is even larger than just the difference in administrative costs. The efforts of private insurers to avoid paying claims force hospitals, doctors’ offices, and other health care providers to spend hundreds of billions of dollars dealing with paperwork from the insurance industry.
Fourth, and related to the last point, a fragmented payment structure is inherently expensive. For insurers, it means the duplication of claims processing facilities and reduced insured-group size, which increases overhead. Fragmentation also raises costs for providers, who deal with multitudes of different insurance plans — one study pointed out that there are at least 755 insurance plans in the City of Seattle alone. This means providers must determine each patient’s insurance coverage and eligibility for a particular service, and keep track of varying co-payments, referral networks, approval requirements and formulas.
What is meant by "single-payer"? Simply stated, it means a government-financed health-care system – like our own Medicare system (leaving aside the recent "reform" regarding drug coverage), or the system in Canada, France, Germany, the Nordic countries and many other nations around the world. Under such a system, government pays the principal medical bills; consumers pay a modest co-pay at most, and private insurance, at most, plays a secondary role, to cover co-pays or exotic or cosmetic treatments that aren’t covered by the publicly financed system.
Education and Family
We need support for child rearing done in the home, and professional quality day-care for families where all the adults work outside of the home.
In keeping with our support for the family, and the rights of youth, we support:
Paid emergency leave for workers to care for sick children or parents/elders.
Full benefits to domestic partners, regardless of sexual orientation.
Flexible hours and/or job-sharing in the workplace, to further support families.
Full social security and pension benefits for spouses and domestic partners of workers.
Support for meaningful gathering places, programs, and work/study opportunities for youth. Respect for the wisdom of our young people, giving them opportunities to be heard.
More effective intervention to break the cycle of domestic violence. Greater societal support for social workers so that they aren’t given impossible case loads and can provide meaningful intervention and assistance to families struggling with poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, violence and other conflicts.
Decent wages for part-time and summer jobs for youth.
I am both pro-life and pro-choice. I realize that some will say that this is impossible or that this is a cop-out. But hear me out before drawing any conclusions.
Let’s begin by acknowledging that people on both sides of the abortion "divide" are motivated by some deeply held – and legitimate – principles. I respect people who stand up for their principles. After all, the Green Party, and this campaign, are also motivated by deeply held principles.
That’s why we believe in protecting and restoring our environment.
That’s why we oppose war and violence as a matter of principle, except when absolutely necessary for self-defense.
That’s why we want to put an end to poverty, exploitation and oppression.
That’s why we want to provide real economic opportunities for all and establish health care as a recognized right.
That’s why we oppose capital punishment as a matter of principle.
The unifying goal should be to help women avoid unwanted pregnancies in the first place and help make every child a wanted and well-supported child. We can enhance women’s right to full reproductive choices by improving women’s (and men’s) economic opportunities, by working toward the goal of promoting full employment at living wage (or better) jobs. The evidence indicates that this would be much more effective at reducing the incidence of abortion than prohibiting it – and besides, it is a goal that we ought to have anyway!
We also need to combat ignorance by improving our education system, including better sex education. We need to promote greater access to, and use of, contraception, including "morning after" or emergency contraception. We need to provide genuine societal support for single mothers who do choose to bear children, so that they can provide a nurturing home environment for their children through infancy before having to return to the workforce.
How We Can Solve the Budget Crisis in Illinois and Build a Full Employment Economy With Good Jobs for All Who Need Them
a working paper by Rich Whitney, Green Party Candidate for Governor of Illinois
Step 1: Fix the Structural Budget Deficit. Make our tax system more progressive and fair.
Eliminate spending that exists only to reward political supporters of favored legislators and that does not serve a legitimate public purpose.
Enact a comprehensive reform of our existing tax structure. C. Impose a financial transactions tax on speculative trading.
Create a state bank.
Implement a greenhouse gas fee and dividend system, imposing fees on producers of energy and products responsible for greenhouse gas emissions, and paying dividends to consumers, based on income level.
Raise additional revenue by ending the socially destructive ―war on drugs‖ and specifically by legalizing and taxing the sale of marijuana.
Step 2: Modernize our Energy Infrastructure.
Create alternatives to the profiteering utilities.
Improve energy efficiency of homes and buildings.
Promote solar and wind power generation – with production based in Illinois.
Develop other creative means of generating energy that do not emit greenhouse gases.
Step 3: Modernize our transportation infrastructure.
Step 4: Improve Education and Provide Free Higher Education for All In-State Residents Who Qualify Academically.
Step 5: Single-Payer Health Care.
Step 6: Support small businesses – for real.
Step 7: Other public works.
Step 8: More, better paying social service jobs. 1
Step 9: Raise the minimum wage until it is a genuine living wage.
Step 10: Make corporations accountable and encourage other forms of business ownership. Use the power of eminent domain to reclaim and re-tool abandoned facilities under community or worker ownership.
Lex Green's positions:
There is an outcry against illegal immigration in this country. And I, for one, don’t like for there to be laws that some people follow and others don’t. If something is illegal, then it should be stopped.
A big concern for un-secure borders is the threat associated with terrorism. But this concern has not been shown to be valid. Every "attack" on us has been at the hands of people who have credentials and attempt to enter through legal means. Spending huge amounts of money to calm unfounded fears is not justified.
I also believe in a fundamental right for us to own and keep property. That is infringed by others who take "free" services that are paid for by taxpayers. That is an example of stealing our money and redistributing it to others. If those others are in our country illegally, then there is a compounded problem. I feel that we should not give free health care or education to those who are not citizens and don’t share equally the tax burden. We must end welfare to non-citizens.
The biggest concern I have heard with respect to those who enter our country illegally, is that they are taking jobs during this time of scarcity. With unemployment around 10%, this is a valid worry. But I do not share the feeling that immigration caused our unemployment. In fact, as a long time factory worker, I have watched for decades as manufacturers have closed down factories and moved operations overseas. For this we can thank over-regulation and high taxes.
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.
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.
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.
Polling for Quinn-Brady-Whitney-Green-Cohen:
10.16.2010's PPP (D) Brady (R) 42.0% Cohen (I) 6.0% Green (L) 1.0% Quinn (D) 41.0% Whitney (G) 3.0%
10.10.2010's Southern Illinois Univ.:
Brady (R) 38.4% Cohen (I) 5.9% Green (L) 1.5% Quinn (D) 29.8% Whitney (G) 2.2%
10.03.2010's Suffolk: Brady (R) 37.0% Cohen (I) 7.0% Green (L) 1.0% Quinn (D) 43.0% Whitney (G) 3.0%
09.28.2010's Chicago Tribune/WGN poll: Brady (R) 38.0% Cohen (I) 4.0% Green (L) 2.0% Quinn (D) 39.0% Whitney (G) 3.0%
Polling for Quinn-Brady/-Whitney/-Cohen:
10.20.2010's Biasmussen: Brady (R) 45.0% Cohen (I) 6.0% Quinn (D) 37.0% Whitney (G) 2.0%
10.16.2010's PPP (D): Brady (R) 49.0% Quinn (D) 44.0%
10.12.2010's Repubmussen: Brady (R) 46.0% Cohen (I) 4.0% Quinn (D) 40.0% Whitney (G) 2.0%