So, How Has the Campaign Been Going?

October 24, 2014

Glad you asked! With less than two weeks left in the campaign, I figured now would be a good time to sum up everything we’ve been going through since being confirmed on the ballot. Keep in mind that there WILL be an official Election Night Party at the American Tap @ 701 W. Lake St. in Addison, IL starting around 6pm and going all night, and everyone is welcome to stop by and chat with us and our candidates.

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The Chicago Tribune held their usual round of endorsement interviews with the two-party candidates for each office. While the Libertarian party candidates were not invited to participate along with their 2-party counterparts, we did manage to sneak our way into a couple editorial board reviews. Candidate for Governor Chad Grimm spent a good 45 minutes with the editorial board in the Tribune Tower answering questions on everything from gun control, to health care, to the pension crisis.

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A few days later, we managed to get another solid 90 minutes to be split up between three more candidates; Julie Fox for Comptroller, Chris Michel for Secretary of State and Ben Koyl for Attorney General. Julie talked about her experience as an accountant and controller in the private sector making her more than qualified for her office, Chris discussed his ideas on lightening the load for business owners and future entrepreneurs in Illinois to get through red tape, and Ben brought in printouts of the Attorney General’s budget with his own ideas for how to save money while redirecting the efforts of the AG office into a libertarian approach for justice.

Despite our efforts, we didn’t snag any of the endorsements, but that wasn’t entirely the goal; the goal was to be included and to be set on equal ground with the other parties. On a side note, Julie Fox did get a VERY honorable mention from the Chicago tribune about her qualifications, despite not getting the endorsement, which is a huge victory in itself.

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Julie Fox also did some radio ads for AM560 in Chicago and the suburbs, and has moved a huge effort to deliver campaign materials door-to-door in the suburban towns. She also snatched up an endorsement from radio personality and former Congressman Joe Walsh, and the Illinois Herald. Go Julie!!

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Other candidates kept themselves busy, including Matthew Skopek for Treasurer, who hosted a fundraiser at the Village Tavern and Grill in Schaumburg to help raise money for Libertarian yard signs that can be used well after this election cycle.

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Matthew also traveled to East St. Louis with Ben Koyl, Chris Michel and me (I’ve been at almost all of these events, really) to take part in a candidate forum hosted by the NAACP East St. Louis Branch, the Pan Hellenic council of East St. Louis, and the New Life Community Church. No other candidates from the other major parties attended, so our Libertarian candidates had a good opportunity to explain our philosophy and demonstrate our ideas to people in Central Illinois.

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The Fall Festival in Mt. Vernon in Southern Illinois was also attended by Chris, Ben, and Matt as well as Lt. Governor candidate Dr. AJ Cummings. The candidates were incredibly well received by almost everyone in attendance, who were thrilled that statewide candidates running for office would come down that far to visit and talk with them. They were cheered in the parade that they marched in, they were approached at their booth, hosted by the new Southern Illinois Libertarian Party, and even later in the evening discussed politics at the local taverns in town with voters. The folks in Southern Illinois were happy to have statewide candidates visit them and discuss their concerns, and our candidates were excited to take part in their events and to listen to the people who are often overshadowed by Springfield and Chicago. Kudos to the volunteers in the Southern Illinois Libertarian Party for getting organized so quickly!

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Grundee County’s annual Cornfest is always a big hit, and we joined in on the CornFest parade which draws over ten thousand people every year. Hosted in Morris, IL right off of the highway, candidates Matthew Skopek, Chris Michel, Ben Koyl and Sharon Hansen candidate for US Senate joined the DuPage Libertarians along with members from both the Will County and Lake County chapters.

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A few high schools were also visited by Libertarians. Chad Grimm, joined briefly by his Lt. Governor candidate Dr. AJ Cummings, spoke all day long to history and social studies classes at Jacob High School in Algonquin, while I, Brian Lambrecht, Chair of the DuPage Libertarians, spoke to a few AP Political Science classes up in Mundelein. I spoke to high school kids about politics, and the hypocrisy, cronyism and failures among the two parties – and they loved it. They asked questions, and they engaged me in discussion.

The kids admitted that they don’t know much about how things work in the political world, and they were admittedly cynical about it. Even the 18 year olds said they don’t want to vote because they don’t trust anyone (though I think I secured their vote). I openly told them that “hey, don’t ever trust someone in politics – not even me. Hold me accountable.” Kids know when they are being lied to, as opposed to most adults, who can watch a speech full of lies and passionately re-post it while talking about how great the person is lying to them. I didn’t even have to spend much time talking about libertarians; I spent most of it talking about how politics exists today. I related it to them, their personal lives and framed it in a way so they could see and understand it. I made them laugh repeatedly because the stupidity and corruption is so obvious that they couldn’t help but laugh.

Kids really are the future, because you can help them open their minds and keep it open before some useless political hack comes along and welds it shut for them for the rest of their lives. Not on my watch. This was one of the greatest moments of this year for me, and I didn’t have anyone with me to grab a photo.

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I also did an interview for CLTV about our ballot access struggle and managed to sneak in mentioning in the names of all 7 of our statewide candidates. You can see the video at the link HERE. Chad also did some interviews for the Sun-Times, FOX News, WGN, and CLTV. Other candidates appeared at the Junior League of Chicago candidate forum and the SWAN candidate forum in Elgin.

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In a nutshell, for a group of independent-minded libertarians who don’t have many resources to exploit, a small group of volunteers and not much money (despite Chad Grimm getting some big bucks for his particular campaign) we’ve done extremely well. Regardless of how everything turns out on Election Day, every Libertarian in the state of Illinois has something to celebrate. And if you are an active member of the state party, you should bask in the glow of all the great accomplishments we’ve made so far, and what there is to come. This Election Day isn’t the end – not by a longshot. Once we get past November 4th, the time begins to immediately start planning for next year, the year after that and the year after that.

DuPage Libertarians Chapter Trophy Winners 2014

We will not slow down and we will not lag behind. We’ve learned too many great tactics, indulged in great experiences, and gained a lot of ground. To everyone in the Libertarian Party of Illinois and all her Chapters around the state, you have great reason to celebrate. And don’t forget – you can celebrate with us on Election Day at the American Tap @ 701 W. Lake St. in Addison IL starting at roughly 6pm throughout the night. Stop by and celebrate with us.
And for the rest of you who aren’t members… what are you waiting for?!? We have such BIG plans for 2015, so jump on it and GET INVOLVED!!


Libertarian Party of Illinois Convention 2014 Recap

September 16, 2014

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The 2014 Libertarian Party of Illinois Convention was a huge success in so many ways, and I was glad to be a part of it. Despite my four years in the party, it was the first one I attended. I also helped out by being part of the Convention Committee, along with Karen Green, Kent McMillen and lead by Lupe Diaz. Everyone worked really hard to make this event happen, and there was plenty to see.

Everything kicked off on Friday night, September 12th in the lobby of the Holiday Inn in Bolingbrook, where the previous convention also took place. Tables were set up with candidate information and books up for donation, people were getting registered to get in the dining hall, and Libertarian Party members from all across the state mingled and shared stories about everything from our recent ballot access struggles to what was happening in their local chapters.

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The night provided plenty of entertainment, including the Convention Committee Chair Lupe Diaz egging on the crowd to bid money in an auction to sit at prize seats during the Friday night dinner with candidates and special guest speakers, and myself showcasing some of the video ads for many of our candidates that are being released this week. Of course, the highlight of the night was the candidate forum, where all seven of our candidates fielded question from Political Division Director and former Libertarian candidate for Governor Lex Green. It was the first time in a long time that all seven candidates had been together in the same room.

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Candidate for Governor Chad Grimm was hit with some of the hardest questions, leading to some responses about government spending, his pension reform plan and what he plans to do within his first several days in office. Alex “AJ” Cummings, Chad’s friend and our Lt. Governor candidate, sat by his side and backed up Chad with his own statements on fiscal responsibility, putting emphasis on his support for 2nd Amendment rights in Illinois and putting his own experience as a medical doctor in front of his arguments for why we still need real health care reform. US Senate candidate Sharon Hansen gave her thoughts on federal questions involving everything from immigration at home to why we should be staying out of wars and entanglements around the world.

Julie Fox, our candidate for Comptroller, restated her qualifications, being the ONLY candidate running for the office to be a Certified Public Accountant with actual accounting experience, and challenged the status quo in Illinois to come clean with their spending. Matthew Skopek, also a working accountant with degrees in both finance and economics, talked about his qualifications and how he plans to implement greater transparency in the office of the Treasurer.

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Ben Koyl is a lawyer who put his skills to work for the Libertarian Party of Illinois as he passionately fought to help us secure ballot access for 2014, demonstrating that he is indeed qualified for the office of Attorney General and that he has his own plans for cutting spending in the department. Hailing as a small business owner, our final candidate Chris Michel knows what small businesses have to go through in Illinois to get started, stay afloat and succeed, and he wants to bring that experience with him to help streamline the Secretary of State’s office while lobbying for better practices to help support small business owners and other entrepreneurs in Illinois by removing obstacles in their path.

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If you didn’t get to meet your candidates or pose for pictures with them Friday night, you had plenty of chances to do so on Saturday. The day kicked off with a live morning podcast from The Side Project hosts Jim Goebel and Eric Ferguson, who spent some time speaking with Matthew Skopek, Sharon Hansen and special guest Wes Benedict, the Executive Director of the Libertarian National Committee. Wes was only warming up on Jim and Eric’s show, as he shortly afterwards gave a great speech on “Today’s Libertarian Party Heroes” while offering great stories on how we can more effectively spread our message and grow our party. I snagged a copy of his book “Introduction to the Libertarian party” which Matthew Skopek was nice enough to buy for me (thanks, Matt!) and Wes was kind enough to sign. Wes sold plenty of copies of his book after his speech and then (after signing copies of our books for us) he donated all the proceeds to help cover the cost of our convention. What a guy!

Other presenters throughout the afternoon included Dan Linn, Executive Director of IL-NORML, who spoke about cannabis prohibition, the drug war and other liberty based values. Illinois State University professor Dr. Terry Noel gave an excellent presentation on Bitcoin. Both of these topics are very popular with libertarians, and I caught both men wrapped up in multiple conversations afterwards in the lobby.

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During lunch, Sharon Hansen spoke about her campaign for a bit, and was then followed by Lex Green, who awarded his wife, Karen Green, with the David Nolan Award. In a very touching speech, Lex spoke about his wife at length and all the hard work and dedication she has done for the party, both at Lex’s side and on her own initiative. If anyone were to deserve the award for hard work above and beyond what is required, it was Karen – congratulations!

Julie Fox was the keynote speaker, and took some time away from speaking about her campaign to talk more broadly about the party as a whole and our individual part in it. After a wonderful introduction by her campaign manager Thomas Hill, Julie delivered an exciting message under the title of “Compromise or Divide – Where Do We Go From Here?” which was very well received from everyone in the audience.

Orchestrated by Communications Division Director Crystal Jurczynski, there were several workshops that took place, designed to help both candidates and members looking to develop their campaigns or local chapter.

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“What’s In Your Liberty Outreach Toolbox?” was a panel discussion of members who have worked or contributed to the Communications Division who hail from all over the state. Diana Visek from Champaign spoke about the best ways to develop and promote print media, Jennifer Floyd from DuPage talked about video making and using film as a tool to promote ideas, Jim Goebel from Grundy County – who earlier that day hosted his podcast program The Side Project – discussed radio broadcasting, Andrew Wikel from the Rockford chapter talked about web design and how instrumental it is to spreading messages of liberty for recruiting members for libertarian chapters, and Paul Clark, the chair of Will County, spoke on the many uses of social media and the many ways they can be of service to your promoting your group and ideas.

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Crystal, with the help of Lex Green, also put a few candidates up to the challenge in a session called “Who’s Driving?” where the candidates must develop their interview skills in dealing with hostile media interviewers. This included audience participation to help measure how well or poorly the candidate was doing as the interview went on.

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After a lively (and hilarious) game of Libertarian Jeopardy hosted by yours truly, and an endorsement ceremony for Comptroller candidate Julie Fox from the Libertarian National Campaign Committee, it was time for dinner, which was accompanied by a rousing speech by candidate for Governor Chad Grimm. Awards were given out to members from across the state, including Kent McMillen, Jenifer Floyd, Diana Visek, Crystal Jurczynski, Julie Fox, and me, Brian S. Lambrecht (which, by the way, I might say is a GREAT honor).

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Afterwards, our keynote speaker for the evening was none other than award winning journalist Ben Swann, whose speech was themed on the premise of “How Liberty Wins Over Fascism.” It wasn’t as much of a speech as it was a lively lecture about how libertarians can better address our ideological adversaries and help set the narrative and change the landscape of debate for our side. It was fun and refreshing, and Ben was kind enough afterwards to stick around and pose for photos with everyone who wanted one.

Oh, and as a side note – he said to me that our game of Libertarian Jeopardy was “the most creative and funniest thing” he had seen at a libertarian event… and he’s been to a lot. What a compliment!!! DuPage does it!!

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After auctioning off some interesting items and socializing some more, the Saturday event closed, only to have dead tired libertarians show up early the next morning for the annual business meeting – which included making changes to the state party bylaws – and the State Organizing Committee meeting – and included electing new members for the executive board as well as the directors. All of those positions are listed at the Libertarian Party of Illinois website, though all of us here at DuPage would like to offer a congratulations to Lex Green on being elected the new State Chair, Jonathan Parker as Vice Chair, Jasen Howard as Secretary and Matthew Skopek as Treasurer.

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Finally, after most of the members and supporters had left before or during the business portion of the day, Evan McMahon, Executive Director at the Libertarian National Campaign Committee, worked for almost four solid hours with most of the executive board members, chapter chairs, and statewide candidates. Less of a speech and again, more of a workshop, this QandA session was very helpful for people looking to develop their libertarian presence on the local level in their communities, and to help draw in more members who want to serve long term purpose and be active in changing the political landscape in their towns, counties and state.

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After all is said and done, this tired and exhausted chapter chair couldn’t wait to get home and sleep off the rest of the weekend. There was a lot of fun, but there was also a lot of learning. So many new ideas and projects to digest and work out later as the weeks and months go on. Of course, most of that can wait, because with roughly six weeks to go till the election, it’s time to get out there and promote our candidates! Thanks to everyone who came out and helped make this year’s convention the massive success that it was!!


Bruce Rauner, It’s Time For You To Come Clean

August 30, 2014

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I, Brian S. Lambrecht, Chair of the DuPage Libertarians and the top volunteer signature collector in the state who personally testified at the State Board of Election this past month, am demanding that you, Bruce Rauner, come out and explain how your campaign can operate such disgusting and reprehensible tactics against another political party under your own nose without you being aware of it.

By now, we all know about the strong-arm tactics used by the GOP in their effort to throw us off the ballot. We are also aware of the armed private investigator that stalked petition circulators and visited the homes of registered voters who signed our petitions. Morrison Security, who was hired to provide the private investigators, is owned by Sean Morrison, who is also a Cook County Deputy Chairman, Palos Township Republican Committeeman and member of the Republican Party’s State Central Committee. The ties are pretty obvious to see.

Yet somehow, Mr. Rauner, you were never aware of this. After we turned in almost 43K signatures to the State Board of Elections on June 23rd, 2014, we were challenged for almost two straight weeks to defend them. When we survived that, you then went after petitioners themselves and the registered voters who signed our petitions.

You only denounced the activity after your camp had lost its battle with us at the Board of Elections and were called out by the tactics used, stating: “I’m appalled by the behavior I read about. I absolutely reject it and would never condone it. It’s terrible. I don’t know if it’s true, but I would never accept it. I’m outraged by what I’ve read.”

Your own spokesman Mike Schrimpf said that “Bruce wants as many people engaged in the political process as possible.” On that issue, we agree.

While the idea of you being oblivious to your own party’s actions is a bit hard to swallow, I am giving you the benefit of the doubt. If you stand by the things you’ve said, and you expect us to honestly believe that you are appalled by the actions that were undertaken to remove us from the ballot, then step forward and explain how this all happened unbeknownst to you. Further Mr. Rauner, I call on you to publicly join the Libertarian Party in demanding a full criminal investigation of this shameful conduct by law enforcement. If you are truly “outraged” and “appalled” as you say, then joining our call for a full investigation should be easy for you.

As you’ve stated many times, you are not a career politician; you are a businessman. Being successful in business requires building solid relationships on a foundation of trust. If you want to prove that you will “shake up” Springfield and clean up the corruption, then start with your own party and your own campaign. I am opening up to you and willing to listen.

You should be forthcoming with a clear explanation of how this has happened. You owe an explanation to us, to the citizens and voters of Illinois and to anyone who ever wants to get involved in the political process anywhere in America.


Details on Our Fight for Ballot Access

August 16, 2014

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On Friday, August 15th, the Hearing Officer assigned to our case RULED IN FAVOR of the Libertarian Party, turning in her report and stating that our petitions “are sufficient and therefore the Libertarian Party does qualify as a new political party at the 2014 General Election and all of the Candidates’ names for the Libertarian Party should be printed on the official ballot at the General Election to be held on November 4, 2014.”

The fight isn’t over yet. The details laid out here should infuriate every American who believes in a fair, just system. It should anger taxpaying citizens of Illinois as well, though as Election Day results show, the anger never lasts long. Here is the basic outline of what we have gone through, including many things you may have not heard.

First, we turned in 42,986 signatures to the State Board of Elections on the morning of Monday, June 23rd, several hours before the Green Party or Constitution Party would deliver theirs. Political Division Director Lex Green handled the paperwork while I took some photos of the four candidates who joined us; Julie Fox for Comptroller, Sharon Hansen for US Senate, AJ Cummings for Lt. Governor and Chad Grimm for Governor.

Afterwards, we met up with candidates Ben Koyl for Attorney General and Matt Skopek for Treasurer at the capitol building in Springfield for more photo taking and a press conference. We knew that our petitions would get challenged by gutless Republicans terrified of competition on the ballot, and we wanted to bring that out in our press conference in advance.

The challenge came. Two Republican supporters requested copies of our petitions from the State Board of Elections and quickly had teams of hired interns go through them with a fine tooth comb, scouring them to find as many address errors and messy signatures as they could find. They challenged 23,667 of our signatures.

What followed were 7 full days (many of them ten hours in length) at the State Board of Elections in Springfield, defending signatures in a line by line defense. Libertarian volunteers came from all corners of the state – even some from across our state borders – to help us defend those signatures.

The Republicans were busing in young interns and students to challenge us. Most of these kids were decent people who had no idea just what they were doing there. Having been prompted by their bosses about us being fraudsters who wanted to steal an election from Mr. Rauner, we talked with them, made friends and eventually opened their eyes to who we really were. Many even admitted to being very libertarian in their philosophy. After the first hour or so, the majority of them stopped fighting our signatures, and most even began helping us track down a few. We won them over by being honest and real.

Of course there were a few of the dedicated, angry type who tirelessly worked to eliminate our signatures – we watched on as they berated the younger interns for not being tough enough. In the end, we were successful. They eliminated 12,789 of the signatures we had – but that left us with 30,197 signatures – more than enough to qualify for ballot access… but it didn’t stop there.

Usually, this is where the process ends. The Republicans have a millionaire candidate with a lot of money to spend to win this election. This is when things began to get ugly.

DuPage Libertarian member Warren Bent brought to our attention a visit he had from a young Republican intern who came to the front door of his home on a Sunday. The young man was carrying copies of the petitions with him, and he tried to convince Warren that he had been defrauded on a petition. Obviously, this person had no idea that he was speaking to a member of the Libertarian Party. Warren declared that he did indeed sign that petition, and then began to ask questions of this kid that made him uncomfortable enough to scamper away and drive off in his car.

That’s right. The Republicans were going door to door to confront people about their signatures and intimidate them into backing down from those signatures. They even brought affidavits and got a few people to sign them, claiming that they did not remember ever signing our petitions (did they have notaries running around with them at the time?) and wanted it legally stated so. Because the Republicans weren’t able to eliminate enough signatures in the line-by-line verification process, their new tactic was to discredit petitioners themselves in hopes of getting entire groups of our signatures thrown off at once.

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These affidavits turned up at the State Board of Elections in front of a hearing officer. One was against me, which I personally testified against. A woman claimed she couldn’t remember me, after being confronted by someone at her door with a photo of me! For those of you who have never personally met me… I am not the kind of guy you easily forget. I even made this joke while testifying, eliciting many laughs from everyone in the room, and did exceptionally well defending my standing as good, honest petitioner. In her report, the Hearing Officer stated that “the Objectors fail to meet their burden of proof in demonstrating any of their objections with regard to Mr. Lambrecht” and found “Mr. Lambrecht’s testimony credible and therefore recommend that the objection regarding Mr. Lambrecht’s petition sheets be overruled.” Damn straight.

The Republicans initially issued subpoenas against some of our biggest petitioners, but neglected to call any of them to the stand on the first day. Our lawyers, however, still brought one of them up – a girl who claimed that over the last several weeks, she had been confronted by an armed private investigator multiple times, who had made her “frightened” each time.

This girl, who was our second biggest signature collector in the state, was scared – but not scared enough. She knew the work she did was honest and legal and she refused to give in, so she testified on our behalf about the confrontations with the private investigator. That testimony helped our case..

This is what we are up against – and yet still, almost two months after turning in our signatures, we don’t have a definite answer on our ballot access. In the end, our total of 42,986 signatures had been beaten and whittled down to 25,989 at the final count. And as you can see, we survived by barely a thousand signatures – which is why every person reading this who helped collect signatures is owed a debt of thanks from the Libertarian Party of Illinois and our candidates for your hard work – because as we’ve always said, EVERY SIGNATURE COUNTS.

This still isn’t over, but it is very close to being over, and things are looking very good for us. Of course, we are Libertarians and this is Illinois, where anything can happen. Regardless, a victory is a victory. We came under intense scrutiny from a major party headed by a wealthy candidate who had endless resources to throw everything they could at us, and we lasted through it. Some of the young Republican interns bragged about how great and important it was for them to be working with Mr. Rauner’s campaign. I responded by asking them, “why?” What is honorable or worth bragging about when you are one of thousands of workers in a campaign with millions of dollars? I would think it more honorable to be defending the people who are NOT millionaires, who are not entrenched politicians – to be with the few hundred people with little to no money on our side who put up a defense against one of the hardest fought election battles in Illinois history – a battle most people will never read about – and come out victorious.

We still must wait for the actual board of directors – four Republicans and four Democrats – to vote on whether we will be printed on the ballots, but having the Hearing Officer rule in our favor will be very helpful. That vote should take place next week on Friday, August 22nd.


Red Light and Speed Cameras

August 5, 2014

900734_origPhoto from Citizens to Abolish red Light Cameras

Libertarians candidates have taken on issues big and small all across the state in their latest campaigns, and this is one of the bigger ones that most being forget about. Chicago has more red light cameras than any other city in America, currently topped out at 352. They have been wrought with fraud and abuse since their implementation, when company Redflex installed and operated the cameras.

Unexplainable spikes in tickets being issues combined with the tinkering of yellow/red lights themselves in order to generate more tickets and bribes being paid out to Illinois insiders prove that this has never been about public safety and has, as was always believed, to be nothing more than a way to extort money from taxpayers who are already stretched pretty thin.

Most people don’t think about these red light and speed cameras until a ticket shows up in the mail, and unless you have plenty of free time or the right connections, it is easier to simply pay the fine and make it go away. City officials, however, are always exempt from them and the fines that they accrue, most famously from Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s personal driver who amassed a few thousand dollars worth of tickets which were then paid for with tax payer dollars.

Of course, Chicago got greedy and continued to install more of these dangerous revenue-siphoning machines, which have since appeared in the many suburbs outside of Cook County.

If you want to get involved in some protests in Chicago to help end red light and speed cameras, and eventually eliminate them from DuPage County and rest of Illinois, then consider attending one of the following protests hosted by Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras. All these protests start around 11am and run until about 2pm. DuPage Libertarians member David Kaufman is a staunch supporter of the group Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras, and attends their gatherings whenever he can. Here are a couple of their next protest dates:

8/9 – Northalsted Market Days

8/16 – Gods on the Block Block Party 7800 S Indiana

Our candidate for Secretary of State Chris Michel has also made it part of his platform to support ending red light and speed cameras in an effort to end the theft of money from citizens. For more information, check out www.banthecameras.com


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