Jesse Jackson Jr. Is Missing. Meet His Opponents, Brian Woodworth and Marcus Lewis.
In June of 2012, Jesse Jackson Jr. took a medical leave from his congressional position, and hasn't returned since. In October 2012, Jackson's wife announced that he won't be campaigning this season, and has given no official date for his return.
Mental health is important, and Jackson has every right to get the help he needs. I couldn't sum it up better than Pastor Anthony Williams, a write-in candidate for this election, so I'll quote him.
"I am very sensitive to his illness because of the fact I have people in my family who are bipolar, but at the same time if you can no longer do the job and you can't campaign, you need to resign," Williams said.
The American people, and the citizens in his district, need representation. We unfortunately cannot wait for Jackson to return, and without any true status updates, we can't be sure he will return in a timely fashion at all. We have alternatives this election, and I am going to outline important positions among his two main opponents, Brian Woodworth and Marcus Lewis. Both have a very good chance in this election due to Jackson's absence.
Brian Woodworth is the Republican candidate on the ballot this election. Brian is a Criminal Justice professor at Olivet Nazarene University. He can be contacted at his Facebook page to have any questions answered, and he also posts a calendar of all the events he will be attending this election cycle.
Brian wants to reduce the burdens facing small businesses today to grow the economy.
Our nation's job market and economy have been weakened by the uncertainty created from ineffective federal policies. In January, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce published a report that found 80 percent of small businesses owners want Washington out of the way, because Washington's taxes and regulations only make it harder for small businesses to hire more employees and expand their businesses. Washington and unresponsive federal bureaucracies need to move out of the way and provide room for the economy to thrive. - Source
Small businesses are the backbone of our local communities: they invest in the future of our communities, and they employ our friends and family members. They sponsor the youth sports leagues in which our children play, and they donate to the local charities that provide relief and comfort to our neighbors. In return for all that these businesses contribute to our communities, our political leaders should do all they can to provide small businesses with certainty, empower their growth, and encourage more investment into the futures of our communities. We must work to create an environment in which businesses and entrepreneurs will feel confident that their investments will not be thwarted by unresponsive federal agencies and a disengaged Washington. - Source
Budget / Debt
Brian supports a full review of all federal subsidies, along with completely removing the healthcare system only available to federal employees. Congress won't realize there is a healthcare problem in this country unless they have to face it themselves, and maybe then they'll finally wake up.
The budget has many areas that can be cut or reduced, without needing tax increases or entitlements. For example, all Federal appropriations and subsidies should be re-evaluated. The Federal Employers Health Benefits program could be phased out and eliminated; current federal employees would be allowed to obtain private health insurance coverage. Discretionary spending and appropriations should be frozen, while increasing competition for grants for legitimate research. Many of these ideas have already been incorporated into proposed bills, as supported in the Congressional Study Committee, as found at http://rsc.jordan.house.gov/Solutions/rscfy2013budget.htm - Source
Brian has the unique opportunity of running in one of the few states to not offer concealed carry permits to its citizens. With the growing violence in Chicago, maybe it's something Illinois needs to catch up on so that law-abiding citizens can defend themselves.
The country would essentially have a national consensus on this issue if the state of Illinois were to follow the lead of the other 49 states that have already passed some sort of concealed carry legislation. Simply put, yes, I would support concealed carry legislation. - Source
Brian takes an approach to healthcare that allows for more privatization and focuses on making the entire system cost less across the board, private or public.
The rising cost of health care is the largest driver of debt and federal spending today. There are many proposals to fixing these programs, in addition to fixing health care in general. Some ideas that have support would be to eliminate Medicare Advantage overpayments, and fight and eliminate fraud and waste among providers and reporting. 10% of users consume 63% of health care dollars; 1% consumes 20%, while 50% consumes nothing at all. To address Medicare/Medicaid spending requires addressing health care spending and costs in general -- something the PPACA does not do. To bring down health care costs (and Medicare/Medicaid in the process), reform needs to focus on systemwide efficiency, incentives in payment systems, coordination of services, and ending defensive diagnostics. Additionally, Medicare participants with a clean bill of health could be moved out of the Medicare system and into a private insurance system through the use of subsidized insurance payments. For those that remain in the Medicare/Aid system, the federal budget should switch to a block grant and allow each state to tailor its own Medicare program. - Source
Brian Woodworth opposes using tax dollars for abortions, but would back proposals that makes adoption an easier option for parents.
I am a pro-life candidate. I support legislation that bans the use of tax dollars to cover abortions. Additionally, I would like to see proposals that would make it easier for parents to adopt children. - Source
Marcus Lewis is running as an Independent, and can be contacted on his Facebook page if you have any questions for him. He updates it very often, and is willing to answer anything you can throw at him.
Every candidate needs to have a plan for jobs. Marcus believes that the government needs to step up and cover education costs for students, without leaving them in massive piles of debt. He's not in favor in expanding loans, he's in favor of reducing their need altogether.
What will be your top priority after getting elected? Filing bills for a massive jobs bill such as was done in the 1930's, i.e., WPA Programs, introducing bills for education grant programs for college-bound students so the need for loans would wither on the vine. This Federal Government must step up and not allow our nations children to be saddled with "mortgages" after they graduate from college. We can and We will do better by our young people and give them the breaks many need as "OUR" gift to them by investing in their & our country's future. - Source
Budget / Debt
Marcus takes a stance that has been echoed by a lot of politicians, but has never been as direct as he put it. Marcus is fully in favor in reviewing the defense budget and cutting it down to help relieve the debt.
What would you cut first to balance the budget? Defense. There is a known build in valley of wasteful items that even the Pentagon does not want... so why in God's Name would we (Congress) continue to fund them?! - Source
Marcus believes in the constitution, but reminds everyone that restrictions may have to be placed on guns so that they are used responsibly.
As I have said before, I believe in the U.S. Constitution and thereby the 2nd Amendment. But what the average American fails to remember, "With great power, comes great responsibility." Meaning there must be standards for the gun and the bullet. That's why there is a standard on the purchase of alcohol as you MUST be 21. Or driving a car the age in Illinois to gain a license is 18. reasonable standards not open-ended do as you please mindset is dangerous for both the gun holder and the population at large. And as an addition, I am finding the so-called criminal had currently better watch out for the so-called law abiding citizen. Most of the last mass killings were done by people that had no history of violence. Guns are too idolized and ammunition is too cheap and available to obtain. Mix all this with alcohol, stresses of daily, frustrations in life, drugs and mental fragility is a recipe for someone to be shot and killed in a moments notice. We can and We must recognize we MUST have standards when it comes to lethal weapons and ammunition. - Source
Marcus is in favor of single payer healthcare. Judging by how direct he is with his positions, I fully believe he will not "compromise" on it, like our current congress did.
Is there anything you would change in the health care reform act? Yes, I rewrite the bill to raise it to a Single-Payer Status. - Source
Marcus holds the position that abortion is wrong in the eyes of his religion, but it is NOT up to the federal government to impose that belief on everyone else.
I am pro choice. It is the woman that carries the child, so she must answer to God for her choice to either carry her child to term or not. as we all must stand before Almighty God to give an account of all we have done in this mortal body whether it be good or bad. - Source
There are two very viable candidates with very express positions that I listed above. Weigh their ideas against your own. If you're unsure, contact them, they are available and willing to answer any of your questions. There is a choice for both liberals and conservatives. Jesse still has a large amount of support behind him, but with his recent announcement that he won't even be campaigning, both candidates above will have a good chance at winning this election.