Views From Vince
Opinions from Vince LaMie
Green Party Candidate for State Representative

On Aug. 11, I participated in a candidates forum which was hosted by a goup concerned about the people in IL with disabilities and their families.

The forum began with two accounts from two mothers who had children with disabilities. They talked about how our state's financial situation has caused unnecessary difficulties for one family and how cuts in funding will affect future prospects for many more people.

Questions were then directed to the panel of 9 candidates and we were each given 2 minutes to respond. There were some very good answers given and it sounded as if we could fix it all as long as we were elected in Nov.

After questioning, the audience had a chance to speak to individual candidates. I spoke to a woman who put it all in perspective when she said, "I've heard it all before." And I agree, we ALL have heard it before.

We've heard it before and yet our state is in the worst financial shape of ANY state.

We've heard it before and yet IL is possibly the most corrupt state in the union.

We've heard it before and yet we are still losing jobs, teachers, police, firemen, and people who care for the most vulnerable.

The people who attended the forum were there because the decisions being made in Springfield are negatively affecting their lives and/or the lives of family members. They were there to help put pressure on people who have and/or will make decisions affecting their lives.

One of the other candidates stated that Governor Quinn did not have the political will to do something that needed to be done. That statement was accurate and brought out the irony that most politicians don't have much political will. I believe the organizers of the forum understood this and were saying, "If you candidates don't have the political will to do what is right, we will use our political will to remove or keep you from office."

As for the rest of us, do we have to wait until our child falls behind in school because of overcrowding before we actually vote?

Do we have to wait until someone we know is a victim of a crime because of dimminished protection before we contact our representatives?

Do we have to wait until the nursing home caring for our parent is closed down due to loss of state funding before we demand an end to waste, fraud, and abuse in our state government?

Please, let's not wait until another governor is arrested before we demand campaign finance and redistricting reform.

Let's not wait until things get worse - let's get involved now.

I would like to respond to 4 questions posed in an Aug. 17 editorial printed in a local paper titled "Real Reform."

1. Why do we have such corruption in IL? 2. Why do we seem to tolerate corruption and accept it as a cost of getting things done? 3. Why is real reform so elusive? 4. Why are we run over and over again by politicians who seem to view themselves as above the law, who turn government funds to their own personal gain?

1. We have such corruption in IL because lawmakers wrote weak laws to fight corruption and do not provide adequate manpower and/or funding to prosecute corruption. Our last 2 governors had to be prosecuted by federal authorities because of our weak laws and lack of support for law enforcement. In IL we can't wiretap in corruption cases unless 2 people in the conversation agree to be taped.

2. We tolerate corruption, but I don't think the people of IL accept it as a cost of getting things done. What is getting done? I hope we are starting to see that corruption is keeping us from getting so much more done. We tolerate corruption because we think we can keep it separate from our own lives. And many of us will not stand up to corruption until it affects us personally. It has to become personal. If you live in IL George Ryan was your governor, Rob Blagojevich was your governor. The only way to disconnect from that fact is if you move out of IL. I don't want to do that, but the corruption that has caused our financial problems is going to hit us between the eyes very soon, if it hasn't already.

3. Real reform is so elusive because the system that needs reform has been set up and used by people and organizations to consolidate power into the hands of a very select few. They use that power to keep real reformers out of office and give campaign money to elected officials who will tow the line. This keeps bills that contain real reform from being passed into law.

4. We have politicians interested in personal gain from public funds because we haven't screened our candidates for office well enough. Have we noticed how much money candidates get for their campaigns? Did they get most of that money from special interest groups or from individuals? Does the money indicate a conflict of interest to the candidates duties in office?

The editorial posed very relevant questions for those of us that still want to live in IL and want our children to live nearby. I hope the editorial and this response will motivate more people to get involved as agents for change.

Vince LaMie
Woodworth, IL
Green Party
Candidate for State Representative Dist. 105