Chicago AFFers discuss governor’s race
America’s Future Foundation isn’t Republican or Democrat, Libertarian or Constitutional. But a recent televised debate between Republican candidates for Illinois governor gave members of its Chicago chapter an opportunity to evaluate the limited-government credentials of candidates seeking the office this fall.
The impeachment of disgraced Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has provided an opportunity for Republicans to capture the governor’s mansion in Springfield after a decade in the wilderness. But do any of the seven Republican candidates deserve conservatives’ and libertarians’ support in the February 2nd primary? Or is the lone Libertarian candidate in the race the only friend of liberty?
On January 13th AFF Chicago asked these questions at an event at Sullivan’s Steakhouse. Following the debate, chapter chair Richard Lorenc moderated a discussion with Libertarian Party gubernatorial candidate Lex Green and his running mate Edward Rutledge, along with David Scalzo, chief of staff for the Dan Proft campaign.
The debate itself featured a lively discussion between the seven contenders for the Republican nomination. The crowd responded to their answers with approving nods, the occasional applause, but also boos and laughter. In the end, it was clear the two candidates on stage who generated the most positive sentiment among the AFF audience were businessman and transparency activist Adam Andrzejewski and Republican consultant Dan Proft.
An informal show of hands following the debate, however, revealed that if AFF Chicago had its way, Dan Proft would be the Republican nominee. The crowd responded to Proft’s platform of tax cuts, spending caps, and school choice, as well as his entertaining style of answering questions.
During the post-debate discussion, Libertarian candidate Lex Green said Proft’s plan to cut income tax rates by 50% was only 50% right. As governor, Mr. Green said he would eliminate the income tax entirely. His running mate, Ed Rutledge, added that a Libertarian administration would review all spending decisions down the last cent.
Speaking for the Proft campaign, Dave Scalzo said many of Proft’s proposals spring from Libertarian ideas, but that to put those ideas in action it is necessary to work through the two-party system. He urged the Libertarians in the audience to vote for Proft, even if he doesn’t espouse every one of their ideas.
The panelists also debated the merits of third-party candidates and what influence the Tea Party movement could have on Illinois, as well as the division between conservatives and libertarians on social issues like abortion. All the panelists agreed, however, that single-party Democratic rule has destroyed Illinois’s economy, and that something has to change or else the state will slide further into decline.
The lively post-debate discussion was a great way for AFF Chicago to kick off 2010 and what should be an exciting moment in Illinois politics.
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