Underdog candidates begin campaigns with challenges

Underdog candidates begin campaigns with challenges


Editor’s note: Here is a sampling of issues and candidates making the news in Illinois.

Democrat John Kutsch is up against the heavily favored Republican Don Manzullo for the U.S. Congessional seat.

Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Cal Skinner is up against the mainstream Republican Jim Ryan and Democrat Rod Blagojevich.

Kutsch challenges Manzullo to series of debates

Harvard—John Kutsch, Democratic nominee for the U.S. House of Representatives, 16th Congressional District of Illinois, has challenged incumbent Don Manzullo to a series of debates at various locations throughout northern Illinois.

“I am offering you the opportunity to debate on substantive issues facing our respective candidacies in the district,” said Kutsch. “As I have traveled across the 16th District, I have found people deeply concerned about job security, education, healthcare, retirement, and their quality of life. Business and community leaders are concerned about transportation and economic growth. Farmers are concerned about their ability to profitably harvest crops and make a living. Seniors and working-class people are concerned about making ends meet each month, providing healthcare, and a stable, secure home for their families.”

Kutsch proposed five debates in the district, the first to be held in Freeport on Aug. 27, 2002, the 144th anniversary of the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858. He also proposed debates in Rockford, Crystal Lake, Galena and Belvidere.

Kutsch writes open letter supporting

Mayor Doug Scott

Harvard—John Kutsch, Democratic nominee for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 16th Congressional District of Illinois, recently wrote a letter in support of the economic growth initiatives of Rockford Mayor Doug Scott.

Kutsch applauded Scott’s “vision and leadership in promoting a diversified economy, revitalizing downtown Rockford, and working hard to keep businesses that are already here.” Kutsch “believes private investment is critical to the region and has met with investors making an appeal for investment dollars in the Rockford area.” Kutsch also stated, “I believe transportation is a vital key to any economic development plan, and I support your goal for bringing Metra commuter service from Chicago to Rockford. As Congressman, I will also be committed to bringing in federal dollars to help build an east-side hub for Rockford’s Mass Transit Authority and will take a strong leadership role in bringing passenger air service to the Greater Rockford Airport.”

Skinner authors ‘12-Point Plan’

for Illinois legislators

Challenging Illinois lawmakers to “find someone who can give a rational explanation of how cigarette smokers or cable TV subscribers caused the recession,” Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Cal Skinner recently released a “12-Point Program for Illinois Legislators” modeled after the recovery program developed by Alcoholics Anonymous. Skinner heads his essay “Taxaholics Anonymous.”

“I’ve written this tongue in cheek,” said Skinner, but I’m deadly serious about its content. I’ve been in Springfield during these high-pressure tax storms,” he said. “It’s akin to a tornado, with high winds swooping up every ounce of sense in their paths. I hope the ‘12-Step Program’ will inject a common-sense perspective into the maelstrom and give some of our hapless legislators an anchor to cling to in the midst of the storm.”

Skinner challenges

Ryan & Blagojevich on gun policy

Libertarian gubernatorial nominee Cal Skinner last weekend challenged the nominees of the Republican and Democratic parties—Atty. Gen. Jim Ryan and Cong. Rod Blagojevich—to define their respective responses to the Bush administration’s enunciation of a new posture on gun ownership.

“The Justice Department has filed a brief declaring ‘that the Second Amendment more broadly protects the rights of individuals… to possess and bear their own firearms,’” Skinner noted.

“In reports on this brief,” Skinner said, “we have learned that this posture is a departure from a doctrine the federal government has been operating under since the ’30s… that narrowly applies the Second Amendment right to bear arms only to official members of a government-sponsored military or police organization. Apparently,” Skinner said, “the private ownership of firearms has been seen by federal authorities as a beneficence that these authorities themselves have bestowed and could as easily revoke.

“I have always embraced the right of individual law-abiding citizens to bear arms, whether for sport, for self-protection or for any other reason or even no reason,” Skinner said. “And I’m willing to say that upstate, downstate, wherever Illinois voters are listening.

“I wonder, though, whether my two opponents will be as quick to talk about this issue.” “The Bush administration, through this Justice Department brief, is breaking new ground,” Skinner said. “A new question has been raised, one that is of great import to the safety and freedom of American citizens and one that should be put to every candidate for public office—certainly for as consequential an office as governor.”

“It is a question that Jim Ryan should answer while he stands next to George Bush Monday and accepts the president’s patronage as his chief fundraiser. It is a question that Rod Blagojevich should answer in the context of his own candidacy and of his radical record in Congress as a gun control crusader.

“It is a simple question, really, and one that helps voters define the candidates seeking their votes: ‘Does the Second Amendment give individual citizens the right to keep and bear arms, or does the Constitution mean to guarantee that right only to those serving in militias?’”

“How about it, Jim and Rod? What say you?” Skinner said.

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