After Scott Brown’s upset senate victory in Massachusetts, everyone — left and right — is left wondering how big an omen it is for November. In the Tuesday Republican primary for the Illinois governor’s race, Adam Andrzejewski may provide the answer.
The importance of the ACORN story last summer proved that conservatives have begun to break the mainstream media’s stranglehold on political news. The visual confirmation — distributed virally by alternate media willing to expose it, provided proof of ACORN’s deep-seated corruption. Bringing the story out invigorated both mainstream conservatives and Tea Party activists.
Scott Brown’s victory has had the same effect. Activists saw that a solid candidate, one that focuses on core principles, could win even in a blue state. The race for Governor in Illinois, and February 2nd’s Republican primary, has become the next battle for the blue.
Adam Andrzejewski, in his run for governor of Illinois, has seen this impact and excitement first hand and the change in the political landscape drew him into this race, despite a crowded field. “My five opponents in the race have a combined 100 years of political cronyism. I ask one question on the campaign trail, ‘Do you feel Illinois is running well’? My opponents have been there a long time, while the state and party have been run into a ditch. Illinois political experience, in this election cycle means, political failure and baggage.”
He is backed by Tea Party activists statewide and has never held elective office, an asset for many people in this political environment. There may be some who believe that the political machine is simply too powerful for a political outsider to break. But in this new landscape, the machine’s limitations and deep fractures have never been more apparent. Indeed, Andrzejewski will be joined by former Solidarity Leader and Polish President Lech Walesa at a Chicago luncheon fundraiser, a man who knows first hand how a machine can be dismantled.
"I have heard that Adam’s opponents criticize his lack of political experience," Walesa said in a letter of support. "I still remember when some 30 years ago, my opponents were similarly critical of my lack of political background. History has shown, however, that in order to create real change, new factors are sometimes necessary."
And Illinois needs a new factor. There is disconnect between the State Republican Party and the Republican voters of Illinois. That became painfully clear with in 2008 when one of Andrzejewski’s primary opponents, Kirk Dillard, participated in a campaign ad for President Obama for the Iowa primary (watch the ad).
Andrzejewski’s background is the story of an average Midwestern upbringing. He was raised in a modest farming community in Illinois. Like so many people today, he watched his parents work hard to raise seven children. Even today, his parents don’t own a credit card. His father worked two jobs to provide for a large family and instilled the value, and results, of hard work. In 1997, with his brother, Adam founded a successful publishing business. This is no small thing. Rather than being cutesy or hokey, this background matters. In an era when many talk about the value and preciousness of a free market, but do little to protect it and often even impede it, Adam knows firsthand why the small businessman matters. He knows that the government doesn’t create jobs, people do.
“Although my business was successful after ten years, during the third year of start-up we nearly lost our company because we ran out of money. But for another dimes worth of taxes regulations and fees, we would have been out of business. When I sold my shares three years ago, we were employing 160 employees and today the business is doing even better. I understand job creation is ‘at the margin,’” Andrzejewski related.
Illinois, like states across this nation, faces a severe budget crisis and an over-taxed and over-burdened middle class. It is facing the relocation of terrorists from Gitmo to Thomson, Ill. The state needs leadership that cares about the state and not the Beltway.
On the prison move, Adams notes, “I am against selling the prison to the federal government. The governor in Illinois is the one person with the power to sell it or not sell it. Constitutionally in Illinois, it’s the governor’s call.”
“I would demolish Statesville at Joliet, Ill. It’s a 19th century prison and is overcrowded, dangerous, expensive and is only open because of Chicago politics, power, patronage, and influence. As governor, I’d level Statesville and move operations to Thomson: this would alleviate over-crowding, increase safety, and save the taxpayers. The taxpayers built Thomson in 2001 for a cost of $127 million. If my plan above would have been implemented, it would have saved the taxpayers $90 million over this 9 year period.”
And how to break the stranglehold of cronyism in Illinois politics? It begins with targeted executive orders. “First I will put ‘Every Dime. Online. In Real Time.’ to show taxpayers exactly where their money is being spent. Citizens, competitive businesses and the press need to hold our politicians accountable. Tax dollars don’t belong to the government. The government is only a steward of those tax dollars. It is through the sacrifice of ordinary citizens that government is entrusted with this responsibility. They have the right to know how every single dollar is being spent.”
“Second, I will order a top to bottom forensic accounting of the entire $55b a year budget. This will save Illinois taxpayers $3-$5 billion! A Kansas Democrat governor did a forensic audit and saved Kansas taxpayers $1 billion, and Texas saved $8 billion. Illinois can use the money to pay $5 billion of unpaid bills that sit on the Comptrollers desk. We are bankrupting our service providers, while dollars continue to follow the insiders and fat cats. For all the political experience I’m running against, they passed a pork-barrel $31 billion capital construction bill in the last legislative session. I’ve got bad news, Illinois is nearly bankrupt! The best jobs bill is a forensic audit to pay our bills!”
Like many races to come in 2010, the Illinois gubernatorial race, beginning with the primary, is changing the landscape.