* I told subscribers about this before I left for vacation. Rep. Steve Andersson (R-Geneva) voted for the budget and tax hike and the veto overrides last year. He decided to retire from the House, but his district’s Senate seat became available when GOP Sen. Karen McConnaughay decided not to run again. McConnaughay’s retirement could very well put this district into play, particularly if the county party chairs appoint someone far to the right. The Kane County party chairman has the weighted vote to make the appointment on his own. Subscribers know more. From a press release…
Since announcing my intention to forego running for re-election after solving the 2015-2017 budget crisis, I have been overwhelmed by bipartisan support and the call for me to run again in another capacity.
After much consideration about how I can best serve the people in the great State of Illinois, I have put my name into consideration with the Kane County Republican organization for retiring Senator Karen McConnaughay’s position on the ballot for the 33rd Senate seat, because I believe that my voice represents a view that is being increasingly silenced in the Republican Party.
It was my intention not to overly publicize my application, because the appointment is decided on by two Republican party county chairs (McHenry and Kane) and not by a public participation process. Then, on Wednesday of this week, Steve Schmidt a longtime Republican Strategist (serving President George W. Bush, Senator John McCain and many others) announced via twitter that he was joining an increasingly long list of former Republicans and was leaving the Republican Party. Schmidt called out our party as “corrupt, indecent and immoral.” After reading that, I realized I could not stand and be silent.
I believe that departures, like Mr. Schmidt, George Will, and many others signal a fatal flaw that will lead to the destruction of the Republican Party. While some may think that the Republican Party is strong (controlling 67 of 99 state legislative chambers, 33 of 50 governorships, Congress and the Whitehouse), we have abandoned the majority and the middle of the political spectrum, in favor of focusing only on the angry shouts of the far-right base. This needs to stop. Now.
Our party can only survive with a return to the aspirational goals that until recently defined the Republican Party. We have always believed in fiscal conservatism and a more moderate social position that is reflective of the views of most Americans. This is a return to our Republican roots. We are a party of the big tent that welcomes instead of excludes, and reflects the values of giants like Lincoln, Reagan and Rockefeller. We must stop being the party of “no” and offer real solutions that reflect our Republican values to the complex problems we face.
This means rebuilding a party that reflects the social values of the 21st century, such as all people have rights - women, LGTBQ, the mentally ill, the poor, and the immigrant. Our party needs to recognize and embrace the fact of global climate change, science, and evolution. We need to embrace the views of the religious (in all varieties) but also recognize the non-religious. We must be engaged with the rest of our world as a partner and not as isolationists who think only we have the correct answer. We must encourage and support innovation and growth in business. We must control spending and find ways to improve how we spend our tax dollars. However, we also must acknowledge that government has and does bring value to our world. It’s not about big government or small government, it’s about right sized government. Government needs to exist to do the things that individuals and small groups can’t.
One of the things government can do well is addressing and rebalancing historical social wrongs. Schools need to educate against bias (explicit and implicit) and educate our children on all of our various community histories such as those of minorities and LGBTQ. As President Jefferson famously (and somewhat ironically given his status as slaveholder) said, we dream to build an “aristocracy of achievement by a democracy of opportunity.” This sentiment applies today to all of us. Without social change, there is no democracy of opportunity. We need to work to build that opportunity. You can’t pull yourself up by your own bootstraps when you don’t have boots. Poverty and crime filled communities simply do not have the same opportunities to achieve that wealthy communities do. Effective government programs can make that happen and are a necessary party to real change.
I am seeking this appointment to help turn my party away from becoming the “corrupt, indecent and immoral” party that Mr. Schmidt claims we have become. That is not who we are, but if we keep mindlessly following demagogues who live the Machiavellian motto of “the ends justify the means” without adhering to real principles, that is who we will be. In the end, I cannot sit silently by and allow that to happen.
I am proud to be a moderate Republican. I offer my services to the people of the 33rd Senate District of Illinois. Thank you.