Issues in focus for Election Day

By Meghan Keyes

Voters go to the polls Nov. 2 to cast ballots for a number of county, state and national offices. A lot is on the line, including the state’s economy and its reputation. Illinois is more than $12 billion in debt and its former governor will be retried on corruption charges next April.

The governor’s race seems to be favoring Republican candidate Bill Brady. A Rasmussen poll published on Oct. 20 showed him with an eight-point lead over Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, 45 percent to 37 percent. Meanwhile, veteran Democratic Secretary of State Jesse White, who has held the office since 1999, holds a commanding lead in that race of 64 percent over his nearest challenger, according to an Oct. 25 Tribune/WGN poll. The following information was gathered from candidates’ website.


Pat Quinn

The Democratic candidate is Quinn, current governor and former lieutenant governor to Rod Blagojevich. His top issues are job creation and economic growth. He plans to encourage small businesses, reach out to the business community and invest in public infrastructure. In the past, he has called for an income tax raise. He also wants the recently renewed “Put Illinois to Work” program to continue. One other focal point has been his support of the LGBTQ community and civil unions as well as human rights, specifically regarding discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. He plans to focus on green energy and conservation of natural resources and technological innovations such as wind farms.

Bill Brady

A former state senator and representative, Brady is the Republican candidate. His main priorities are ethics reform and job creation. If elected, he would enact a campaign contributions limit, term limits and would move the job of redrawing legislative district boundaries to the Illinois Board of Elections using a computer program. He also supports tax credits for businesses creating jobs and eliminating some higher taxes and fees on businesses. Brady wants to balance the budget without raising taxes. He also emphasizes education, including downsizing the Illinois Board of Education to allow local governments more control. He is opposed to gay marriage and abortion, as debated on Oct. 20.

Lex Green

Libertarian Party candidate Green’s main issue is spending. He wants to freeze any new spending and eliminate unnecessary state programs. He plans to eliminate the 3 percent income tax, gasoline tax, cigarette tax and alcohol tax. He also supports a term limit for politicians. He wants to reduce public jobs in order to cut spending, and instead, better support businesses in the state to provide jobs. Additionally, he supports legalizing marijuana and the Second Amendment, and is willing to veto any bans on firearms.

Rich Whitney

As the Green Party candidate, Whitney’s main issue is closing the budget deficit, which in turn he said will help with jobs and the economy. He proposes to restructure the tax system, increase taxes for the upper income and corporate world and create a tax on speculative trading. He plans to create a state-owned bank, such as North Dakota has, to generate income. Environmentally, he wants to create fees for companies emitting greenhouse gases and pay dividends to taxpayers during short-term energy price increases. Whitney wants to amend the Illinois Human Rights Act to include the LGBTQ community and grant it equal rights, including marriage.

Scott Lee Cohen

Cohen is the independent candidate and former Democratic lieutenant governor nominee. He emphasizes revitalizing the economy in three steps: Invigorating the economy, marketing the state as a location for new businesses and manufacturers and supporting existing small businesses. Regarding jobs and the economy, he wants to hold job fairs and create a database for employers to post jobs on that connect the workforce. Cohen wants to restructure the jobs incentive plan, implementing a cost-benefit analysis of business taxes and regulations. He also would ask for a full state audit of the budget. In social issues, he supports eco-friendly industry, women’s rights, abortion and stands against hate crimes and discrimination based on sexual orientation, race, ethnicity or gender identity.


Jesse White

White is the incumbent Democrat and has been Secretary of State since 1999. His main campaign issues are supporting organ donation, restoring integrity, keeping teenagers safe, modernizing customer services and reducing drunken driving. White wants to make people aware of the importance of donating organs and tissues. He also cites enacting driving under the influence laws requiring offenders to have a breathalyzer test to start their vehicle as well as reducing fatalities among teen drivers.

Robert Enriquez

The Republican candidate, Enriquez is a Marine officer and businessman. He has some specific initiatives if he is elected. He wants to audit and publish the Secretary of State’s budget online for transparency and publish organizational charts, names and salaries, reduce waste and costs and return savings as a fee rollback to Illinois drivers. He has pledged to serve only two terms. Another focus is job creation, including an initiative to bring license plate creation back to Illinois from Canada, and to bring driver’s license manufacturing back to the state from Kentucky.

Joshua Hanson

The Libertarian candidate is Hanson, with three main points in his campaign platform. He wants to improve customer service through accountability, promote literacy by empowering families and communities and support transparency and disclosure. Specifically, he wants to hold government employees to higher customer service standards, put the main power and support of the library system in community hands and provide full disclosure of all the money spent within the office of the Secretary of State.