Elections

Libertarian nominee for Illinois governor: Grayson ‘Kash’ Jackson

The Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board sent the nominees for Illinois governor a list of questions to find out their views on a range of important issues facing the state of Illinois.

Libertarian Grayson “Kash” Jackson submitted the following answers to our questionnaire. In addition, watch the video above to hear why Jackson is running for office.


 What are the two biggest problems facing Illinois and what would you do about them?

Jackson: The first is government corruption at all levels.  Illinois has long been known for its shady government practices including extortion, bribery, and racketeering.  Aspiring politicians often use generalities with “transparency”. I would like to increase transparency by offering closed circuit television into every legislator’s office and run live streaming feeds from these locations including all committee hearings, court rooms, as well as the Governor’s Office.  Additionally, I would like all government emails made available to the public at the close of each calendar year.  Transparency should be forthcoming and not a hurdle.  Currently the judicial system exempts itself from FOIA and open records of complaints and investigations of judges.  I will work to end these practices.  Restoring faith in government requires us to be open, honest, and accountable to the people we purport to serve.

The second is the 2-party system and its accompanying gerrymandered districts.  When I am elected, the Libertarian Party will become an established party with lower petition requirements for all offices in Illinois.  Over 50% of Illinois does not identify as Democrat or Republican.  A viable third political party will ensure that both Republicans and Democrats nominate better candidates.  Our elections will become a real competition of ideas rather than based on fear and anger.  A majority of our electorate is moderate and demands fiscal responsibility which both mainstream parties continuously fall short of.  To ensure viable elections in the future, I will also propose legislation to update election laws so candidates can achieve ballot access without needing large sums of money to campaign.  My electoral map will be produced by a non-partisan commission unlike Michael Madigan’s parceled and gerrymandered maps he has produced to date.  If I cannot reach an agreement with the legislature, I will take my chances with Abe Lincoln’s hat. A 50/50 chance is better than the “fat chance” Illinois has had for the past 30 years with Mike Madigan.

Even after raising the personal state income tax rate to 4.95 percent, Illinois had $9 billion in unpaid bills as of December. The state also must pay billions of dollars over the next 12 years to service the debt on $6 billion borrowed to cover previous unpaid bills. That’s a problem. What’s your solution? Under what circumstances, if any, would you support a higher income tax?

Jackson: We need to cut state spending by reducing the size of government.  My first priority is to consolidate the nearly 7,000 units of local government that are devouring tremendous revenue.  Doing so will provide immediate property tax relief and begin to mend our state’s general fund.  Our state spending has outpaced the rate economic growth. Our budget growth should be tied directly to the health of the economy as measured by GDP and not inflation.  I will not support additional taxes or increased tax rates.  I will support a much smaller government and reduced spending but we can only do so if we make a commitment to incentivizing consolidation and reducing pension spending.

Who is Grayson “Kash” Jackson?

He is running for:  Governor

His political/civic background: None

His occupation: Retired Navy, Stay-at-home dad, Political Activist

His education:

  • AA Marine Engineering from Coastline Community College
  • 90 Credits towards BA in Criminal Justice at Columbia College of MO

Campaign website: kash2018.com

Recent news: Kash Jackson

Illinois has $130 billion of unfunded pension liability. Do you support re-amortizing this debt? Do you support a constitutional amendment that would reduce the liability? Please explain. 

Jackson: A bankrupt state will pay no pensions.  When Section 5 of Article XIII was written, Illinois had far fewer employees and Section 5 was meant to ensure that once the workers earned a pension, they would receive it.  In 1970, there was not the severe administrative bloating that we have today.  I would propose the legislature repeal Section 5 of Article XIII and replace it with a 403(b)-style retirement program.  If you are over 42.5 years of at this time, you may keep the pension and if you are under 42.5 years, you and all new hires will be moved to or join the 403(b)-retirement program.   I would also like to cut back on the administrative positions in every branch of government employment when possible.  I would change the formula for administration pensions to a percentage based on the average ​first four years of salary.  This would eliminate the policy of pension spiking in the last four years.  I will propose a constitutional amendment in the legislature to cap defined benefit plan payouts of all administrative positions and elected officials at $100,000 per year as it is for all state university football and basketball coaches now.  I do not support re-amortizing debt as that will only kick the can further down the road. This issue needs immediate action.

Do you support a state ban on gun silencers? Should all gun dealers in Illinois be licensed by the state? Should family members be empowered to petition the courts for the temporary confiscation of guns from mentally or emotionally disturbed people who may be a danger to themselves or others? 

Jackson: I oppose banning gun silencers and other items such as oversized magazines and assault weapons.   Banning firearms in Illinois will not stop people from using firearms.  It prevents lawful owners from possessing them and creates a black market which encourages illegal activity.  I also oppose creating a separate state license for gun dealers.  The Federal program places a number of restrictions and regulations on gun dealers. An additional Illinois license will restrict the trade further and drive legitimate businesses away from our state such as traveling gun shows.  We need to stop over-regulating our citizens and businesses and find ways to bring people back to Illinois.

I would not have vetoed the Lethal Order Protection Act (HB2354).  I am running to reform family law practices in this state.  Family courts rife with flimsy and unfounded allegations that go unpunished.  With this act, law abiding gun owners can be dispossessed of their firearms on the word of one person that they may not even know such as a police officer.  Allegations in family courts are not subject to perjury laws so anyone can lose their second amendment rights at the stroke of a pen without recourse.  In my opinion, its against the US Constitution and I would support any fight against this law in court.

As governor, how would you ensure the long-term viability of the state’s Medicaid program?  Do you support continued Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act? Should the state continue on a path toward managed care for Medicaid beneficiaries? Should everyone be permitted to buy into Medicaid?

Jackson: I am not in favor of the Medicaid expansion as Illinois will be responsible for an ever increasing portion of the expanded program. It should not be for everyone and instead remain a program for the impoverished.  Medicaid needs a total revamp in how it is administered.  First, copays are going to have to increase.  Currently Medicaid recipients pay $3.90 to see a doctor, $3.90 to go to the Emergency Room (ER) for non-emergencies, and free ER care for emergencies.  I would make copays go to $12 to see a doctor and $36 to go to the ER for all cases.  However, some things like contraceptives and vaccines will remain without co-pays.  If someone is destitute and unable to pay, our current law requiring treatment regardless of ability to pay will remain to cover them.  Medicaid will have the same $3.90 co-pay for name-brand prescriptions and $2 for generics, but reimbursements will be the same as well.

Medicaid needs to be transformed from primarily being an insurance plan to being primarily a Health Savings Account (HSA) funded at the Federal maximum allowable contribution, $3,450 or $6,900 for families.  $3,450 is less than the medicaid reimbursement for 1 day at a Chicago area hospital which is $3,555.  If the HSA runs out of funds, recipients will be still able to use Medicaid insurance as a backup.  Medicaid recipients will have to pay the full $12 or $36 co-pay before using funds in the HSA.  The price controls that are currently built into Medicaid will remain, though they will be evaluated for today’s prices.  For example, Medicaid price controls for drugs will be imposed at the level of the drug company such that they will have to reimburse pharmacies for Medicaid sales.  I will allow alternative ways to handle the finances between drug company and pharmacy will be permitted as long as the end result to the patient is the same.  Drug companies will not be allowed to remove their drugs from Medicaid formularies if they wish to sell their drugs in Illinois.  If Medicaid recipients earn enough money such that they no longer qualify for Medicaid, the money in the HSA will still be available to them and can be rolled over into a private HSA at a bank.  We will create a program where employers (or individuals) are offered a limited amount of matching funds for providing employees (or themselves if the money is going into a personal account) who are Medicaid recipients with a company (or personal) HSA.  A limited amount up to $1,200 will also be available to help the individual pay for the insurance premiums and/or direct primary care plan, but only if the HSA option is fully utilized.  Medicaid recipients would have to choose between the Medicaid HSA and the traditional plan but cannot do both.  Recipients who currently qualify for premium assistance subsidies would be unaffected by this.  Other healthcare assistance programs like “All Kids” will be rolled into the Medicaid plans.

These changes to Medicaid will accomplish many goals.  It will allow for streamlined and easy processes to use and accept Medicaid that will yield cost savings for both the state and healthcare providers.  Healthcare providers will be able to be reimbursed faster.  Medicaid recipients will have a much easier time finding local facilities that accept their HSA funds.  Medicaid recipients will both be incentivized and be able to go to more appropriate healthcare providers than the ER.  My plan will help incentivize the establishment of low-cost, cash clinics as they will receive faster payments and less administrative overhead.  Since healthcare will be more easily accessible, Medicaid recipients will have better health outcomes and their office visits will have shorter commutes.  I want to eliminate poverty traps by allowing former recipients to have funds to carry over during their transition to private insurance. I am certain the state will be able to provide the same amount of healthcare or more at a lower cost.

Sources


SUN-TIMES 2018 ILLINOIS VOTING GUIDE


Under the ACA, 650,000 Illinoisans gained health insurance coverage. If the program is abolished or diminished by Congress, what action would you take, if any, to maintain health insurance coverage for these Illinoisans? Where would you find the money?

Jackson: I do not believe that Congress will repeal the ACA as health insurers and hospitals have now built business plans around the law.  If they were to do so, health insurance would revert back to a closed system with little affordable access for individuals. I believe the healthcare marketplace infrastructure would survive in some form so people could still shop for medical plans but these plans could get very confusing.  I would propose three actions.  One, I would allow high deductible catastrophic coverage plans to be sold in Illinois.  These plans would require insurers to cover patients for 10 years after a severe chronic illness diagnosis such as cancer.  In this scenario, the first year would be at the normal premium with a maximum cap of twice the normal premium of the year of diagnosis.  This limits financial risk for patients while still allowing health insurers to recover costs of treatment in subsequent years.  Second, I would allow medical coverages to be a la carte based on the insured person’s age.  For example, women in menopause should have the option to not be covered for pregnancy, which is a major factor in the price of health insurance for women.  Third, I would require that hospitals publish their formularies and post prices publicly on-line and in the ER.  This is being done currently in California and my Illinois disclosure law would follow theirs.

Illinois is one of the largest exporters of college students in the country. What would you do to encourage the best and brightest young people in Illinois to attend college here at home? Does Illinois have too many state universities, as some have argued?

Jackson: The administrative costs at our state universities are driving tuition costs up are making out-of-state schools attractive for Illinois students because they are becoming the more affordable option.  Why have administrative costs at state universities gone up, while enrollment is down?  We continue to fund the high salaries of administrators, when the university cannot attract enough tuition dollars to cover these costs.  Illinois taxpayers wonder if universities have gone off track with respect to their missions as an educational institution. Tax dollars going to state universities should not be used to predominately fund the cushy salaries of university presidents and administrators. Tax dollars should be used to support and nurture what makes a university strong: its faculty and the richness of its libraries.  We need to refocus our universities on building strong academic departments while working to keep tuition affordable.  We need to provide Illinois students with appealing options for higher education in their home state. I recognize that this issue cannot be solved overnight. I am also not seeking band-aid fixes but demand sustainable solutions.  This requires answering some difficult questions like the two I listed above. As governor, I will facilitate dialogue between the universities and lawmakers to find solutions. Our twelve state universities help make this state great and I will work to find solutions to continue their operations.

University oversight. Failed or fired public university presidents have received big payouts. Do you have any plans to consolidate or otherwise reorganize governance of the state’s university system?

Jackson: Illinois can be more efficient with how the state university system is run. Two other states, Wisconsin and California, have streamlined their state university systems while not losing focus on academic excellence.  We can learn from what these states have done and implement their strategies. I will propose legislation to create one unified governing board for all 12 state universities rather than having U of I and 8 others. My goal is to create a more unified university system in order to cut the bloat of administrative costs.

The Rauner administration has proposed scrapping limits on the rate of air pollution from a fleet of eight coal plants in central and southern Illinois owned by Dynegy Inc. Instead, the state would impose annual caps on sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emitted by the fleet.  Do you support this softening of emissions standards? If not, are you concerned coal plants could be closed and union workers could lose their jobs? Also, how would you support the adoption of clean energy, such as wind and solar, and energy conservation?

Jackson: I am a firm believer in clean energy but that energy must come at an affordable price to all Illinoisans.  A mandate of 100% renewable energy in some centrally planned time frame will not work.  It certainly won’t result in energy prices that struggling families can afford.  Solar energy and wind farm installations will continue in Illinois even when Federal subsidies end next year.  We need to allow more transmission lines in our state so energy can move across the grid freely and at low cost.

Softening clean air standards in Illinois will not help the coal industry survive.  The issue with the fleet is that its fuel, coal, is too expensive compared to natural gas, wind and solar.  A recent MISO report stated that Illinois power grid continues to have a surplus of electricity due to increased wind and solar installations in our state.  If we change these air quality standards, we will only delay an inevitable shut down and dirty our air in the meantime.  It is not good policy and I am against it.  I will support Dynegy’s efforts to keep plants open by converting these plants to incinerate trash for energy but I don’t see a way to save all of the coal mines.  The economics are against them.

Our coal miners need help as some mines will close.  Those workers who want education, I want to pass legislation that will provide a grant for two years of education, up to 15,000 per year, to any coal mine worker directly laid off due to a shutdown or mine closure. If they spend less, they can use that money for living expenses during school.   This will be very targeted so that only coal mine workers receive the benefit.

Some of those coal miners might want to start a business.  Southern Illinois is saddled with high regulations, property taxes and workman’s comp insurance premiums and underinvestment in infrastructure.  I want to reduce those regulations particularly for new small businesses.  I am proposing to hold new businesses harmless for minor infractions that do not impact employee safety or harm other people for their first year.  This way, new business owners don’t get in a cash crunch and lose their business for running afoul of some law they didn’t know about. In addition, I want to pass legislation recommended by the state’s own Workers Compensation Fraud unit which includes more funding for enforcement.  More enforcement and requiring recertification for every check will help lower costs without depriving people of their rights under compensation law.

Lastly, I will also talk up downstate Illinois to others and tell them how great this area is with hard workers and great outdoor recreation opportunities.  I think businesses just don’t know.  Governor Rauner won’t say good things about Champaign, much less Carbondale.  I’m happy to promote our workers and cities, not just Chicago.

Under the state’s new school-funding model, Illinois will need $6.2 billion more to fully fund K-12 schools. Will you commit to full funding? Where will you get the money?

Jackson: In our school systems, as in our state government, the problem is not one of revenue, but of spending. Look at the report card of any school in Illinois from a high school in Chicago where poverty and homelessness are major problems, to a school district in one of the most affluent suburbs, and any in between, and you’ll see one constant.

The cost of administrative services is massive. Administrative pay outstrips the pay of teachers in almost every single school, sometimes earning twice as much. Teachers that are on the front lines dealing with students every day are making a fraction of what their administrators are making, while the schools demand more funding as their grades fall lower and lower. While someone in an administrative position should expect to make a higher wage, the disparity is shocking considering the cash-strapped situation many school districts find themselves in.

In most cases, less than half of a given school’s funding goes towards instruction. However, even when schools dump most of their funding into the classroom, scores can be poor. Problems with teacher retention and student attendance need to be addressed if additional funding is going to have its desired outcome. The future of Illinois depends on well-educated students to take the lead in any future progress this state makes.

As governor, I would support measures to allow parents to choose a school that is more in line with their children’s needs and have the money follow the student. I would support initiatives to allow districts to keep the revenues from their residents in their schools. I would encourage school boards to reevaluate the effectiveness of six-figure administrative salaries in favor of higher teacher compensation or the hiring of additional classroom staff. I would support efforts to move our teachers to a more sustainable retirement plan to ensure their retirement funding without adding to our already unsupportable pension burden. I would also support additional allocations from the General Fund and removing the caps on the revenues from Illinois lottery and gaming contributions to education instead of spending it on pet projects. It is my belief that with strong planning, we have the funds to fully meet the needs of our schools and teachers and ensure a better educated, prepared, competitive student.

Sources:

School report cards

Harper High School (recognized as one of the worst in Chicago)

Sterling Middle School – Peoria (school district recognized as having one of the worst reading rates)

Grayslake CCSD 46 (chosen randomly as a representative of an affluent school district)

Lottery money caps on contribution

What is your position on the vetoed Illinois Wage Equity Act? (Vetoed by Rauner in 2017. A similar bill is on his desk)

Jackson: At first glance, the idea of House Bill 2462 is one everyone has an immediate, positive reaction to. Employees should be able to earn the same pay for substantially similar jobs, regardless of gender, if everything else is the same. The only changes this bill would make to the current laws put in place by the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Illinois Equal Pay Act of 2003, and the federal Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 would be to ban prospective employers from asking about previous pay and allow current employees to discuss pay among fellow employees. HB 2462 would also allow the state to fine any company substantial amounts for any violation of this law.

These fines which become rather punitive starting with any company employing more than 4 people could have a seriously detrimental effect on small businesses. The wording of how disparate pay would be determined to be in violation is somewhat vague. The term “equal” in describing work was stricken in favor of “substantially similar,” which would leave it up to outside parties to determine if what any two given workers are doing is the same. Even if they aren’t in violation, the costs involved in simply providing proof and legal defense could be difficult to support for small businesses. In the end, this could lead to employers having to restrict hiring or folding entirely if a decision were to go against them. Both outcomes have the potential to negatively affect a female employee far more than any possible pay gap and only benefit the state which has a habit of bleeding its citizens and business dry to the point they must flee.

A far better option to HB 2462 would be to incentivize programs which teach women and girls to how research and negotiate appropriate wages in the workforce and provide businesses, especially small ones, tools to assist with equal pay practices. Both solutions, supported by the National Partnership for Women and Families, would work proactively to prevent wage discrimination but are not present in this almost solely punitive bill. Both solutions also provide the state with wage-savvy, well-educated working women and business with the tools to pay them fairly which in the long run would benefit everyone. With more women in the workforce with college degrees than ever before, it is vital we put the tools in their hands to ensure they know their value and when it’s not being recognized.

Sources:

HB 2462

National Partnership for Women and Families

How do you plan to address Illinois’ huge backlog of infrastructure construction and repair needs, including for roads, bridges, waterways and mass transit? Do you support an increased gas tax — and/or other taxes and fees — to finance infrastructure improvements, including public transit?

Jackson: I do not support an increased gas tax in Illinois.  We currently charge 19 cents for every gallon of gas and then sales tax on top of that.  We’re double taxing our drivers and still can’t fund infrastructure because the legislature can’t spend the money on infrastructure.  This tax brought in 1.3 billion dollars last year and combined with licenses and registrations, total state revenues were 3 billion dollars.  Illinois received another 2.3 billion dollars for a total of 5.3 billion.  IDOT spent over 9 billion.  We need to find new ways to fund our infrastructure and get better results for taxpayers.  I will not overspend our revenue for infrastructure spending.  We need to stay within our means.  I will prioritize fixed infrastructure projects such as bridges and roads with funding public transit being the last.  Most public transit districts have property taxes supporting them and has income from selling tickets and passes.  Where possible, public transit systems should lease naming rights for their main terminals to generate revenue as well as investigate privatization.

Jobs in Illinois are being lost to high-tech automation and artificial intelligence. It won’t even be long before cars drive themselves. Meanwhile, many other jobs, notably in the retail sector, are being lost to online alternatives. Do you have a plan to help guide displaced workers into new careers?

Jackson:I disagree that Illinois has lost jobs to automation and AI.  We’ve lost thousands of jobs because factories close and businesses are shifting jobs out of Illinois into other neighboring states and away from our regulations.  We need to lower the costs of doing business in our state.  That will begin to attract businesses.  We need to do a better job of retaining those factories and businesses by improving our K-12 education system, not doling out tax benefits.  I will propose legislation banning TIFs in Cook County and its immediate adjacent counties to stop the poaching of businesses from downstate Illinois.  Large employers like ADM and Caterpillar were lured away from Decatur and Peoria by projects funded with TIFs.  These projects also steal from public schools by diverting tax dollars away from them.  This helps stop some dislocation.

For others, their job left due to shifts in the market.  A Decatur retail worker who lost their job at a department store doesn’t have many options.  These workers do have access to funding for higher education but lack access.  We need to improve this.  Local community colleges do offer courses at night but some colleges do not offer all the degrees or certifications that a worker may want.   I would propose grants for local library districts to keep their branches open until 10 PM every weeknight.  Many of our lower income workers have poor access to online education.  By keeping libraries open until 10 PM, dislocated workers can access the internet at computers in libraries or use the library wifi with their own laptop.  This fast internet connection will provide access to online courses that a local community college may not offer.  The state grants would be funded through a charitable donation account set-up through the state.  Many small rural cities have a library but cannot attract a benefactor to keep the location open late at night.  By collecting these contributions at the state level, the state can then provide the grants from a much larger donation pool.  The grants will be allocated to library districts with the greatest percentage of Medicaid/Medicare recipients in a given IDOT district.  This way, more rural communities are able to get grants and they do not become subject to political patronage at the Governor or Secretary of State’s office.

Since the recession ended in 2009, neighboring states have added tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs while Illinois has not. What will you do to spur Illinois manufacturing?

Jackson: With the legalization of hemp, I want to begin to attract manufacturing industries that use hemp such as rope and textiles to our state.  We have an abundance of cheap renewable power as well as wonderful downstate areas that need investment.  When we reduce regulation, those industries will want to come to Illinois to be closer to their raw material supply.  As raw hemp cannot be transported across state lines, those industries need to locate to Illinois.  This will bring investment and we need to ensure that downstate Illinois receives the infrastructure dollars to support it.  I want to make building bridges and roads the priority for IDOT spending and reduce grants and assistance to mass transit.  Those systems do have other funding mechanisms besides the general fund.

When we fully fund the fraud investigation unit for workman’s comp, we will begin to see rates drop on workman’s comp insurance.  When we start consolidating our many local units of government, our property taxes will drop.  When we focus transportation funding on bridges and roads, our infrastructure will accommodate more industry.  If we do these things, manufacturers will come back to Illinois.

Record amounts of money are pouring into top judicial races in Illinois and across the country. Is this a problem? Do you favor the public financing of judicial races?

Jackson: Campaigns cost money. It is rare when the candidate who spent the least amount of money win their race. However, when lawyers and interest groups give money to judges, it quickly creates an environment where the sovereignty and impartiality of the law comes into question. It’s important that judges are held accountable for corruption.  It’s even more important that they act as objective interpreters of law and not as politicians. Elections are not the only way to hold public servants accountable. Instead of using public funds for elections for judges, I would propose a constitutional amendment to implement a merit-based selection with a supreme court review for retention and promotion. This eliminates the need to spend any money on campaigns, and leaves the selection of judges to those with the knowledge and experience required. Meanwhile, a review for retention and promotion maintains an atmosphere of accountability.

What role does a governor’s power to commute sentences play in the overall effort to improve the quality of criminal justice in Illinois? Do you believe sentencing may have been overly harsh — or not tough enough — during the earlier years of the so-called “war on drugs.” And we now face a renewed war on drugs — this time opioids. Is the greatly increased use of opioids a criminal crisis or public health crisis?

Jackson: As governor, one of the things I want to do is set up a commission to evaluate citizens incarcerated for non-violent drug crimes, and use my abilities as governor to pardon as many of those people as I can, in good faith, to get them back in the work force and with their families. I do believe that drug use should be considered a public health issue instead of a criminal justice issue.

The easiest drug to talk about is cannabis. I support full legalization, and think that the use of medical, recreational, and (most importantly) industrial cannabis can be a major boost to the Illinois economy and job market if we simply unleash it. Industrial hemp can be used in almost every manufacturing sector there is, as well as energy production, and I was pleased to see Governor Rauner approve Senate Bill 2298 legalizing industrial hemp just a few short weeks ago.

The issue with opioids is more nuanced, and the current crackdown is hurting chronic pain patients, including people who have functioned perfectly fine on opioids for years who now find it difficult or impossible to obtain the medication they need to maintain a decent quality of life. I have personally spoken with people who have talked about the current social stigma that comes with being on these painkillers.

The Drug Enforcement Administration sets annual quotas for opioid production, and has reduced the limit by 25% in 2017 and another 20% in 2018. By doing this, they are forcing patients to resort to the black market to find what they need, and it is there where we get people accidentally overdosing on drugs where they have no idea of potency, or worse are getting impurities mixed in with their drug, like the incredibly deadly fentanyl.

According to the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences, “Chronic pain affects about 100 million American adults—more than the total affected by heart disease, cancer, and diabetes combined. Pain also costs the nation up to $635 billion each year in medical treatment and lost productivity.”

Allowing citizens to get access to the painkillers they need in a safe environment is what we should be focusing on, as opposed to treating them like criminals at the outset and pushing them into a dangerous unregulated black market where they get hurt and are often killed by tainted drugs.

Which past governor of Illinois do you most admire and why? Which governor from any state would you most like to emulate?

Jackson: This first question took some research, but I am proud with what I learned. I would choose Edward Coles, who served as Illinois’ second Governor from 1822-1826. As Governor, he led the charge at the state’s Constitutional Convention to insure it would become a free state. His passion for abolition of slavery led him to quit his position as President Madison’s private secretary, and move from his home in Virginia to Edwardsville, Illinois where he settled in order to free his own slaves which he had inherited along with the family’s plantation.

Unfortunately, being a, abolitionist was a rather radical and unpopular position at the time, and it cost him politically, making him unable to win any further elections in public office. Nevertheless, he continued to fight for Illinois to remain a free state. His conviction and dedication to the rights and dignities of human beings should be celebrated and remembered. It’s for this reason, this fervent dedication to basic human rights, that makes him in my opinion, Illinois’ greatest Governor.

The second question is easy – I would go with Libertarian Presidential candidate Gary Johnson, a two-term governor of New Mexico. While not perfect by any means, he was someone who fought for what he believed in, which included school vouchers, term limits, privately run prisons, and tax cuts. He also had legislative success in cutting the state income tax, gasoline tax, state capital gains tax, and unemployment tax, and that was as a Republican with a Democrat controlled legislature. He wasn’t afraid to stand up against bad legislation, using his veto power over 700 times during his time in office. I will work with others to help get things moving forward, but will not be afraid to stand my ground when needed.

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