We thought it would be useful for the Oak Park community to understand why the Greater Oak Park Democratic Socialists of America (GOPDSA) gave their endorsement to Green Party candidates for governor and lt. governor: Rich Whitney and Julie Samuels, respectively.
We strongly believe that the time has come for progressives to have a real voice in Illinois politics. This requires letting the political mainstream know that we will not support a Democratic governor who does not use his power to address the real and festering problems of the state, including meaningful tax reform and education funding. For example, though Pat Quinn’s “Taxpayer Action Referendum” to double the state income tax on households making more than $250,000 and split the proceeds between property tax relief and education funding received overwhelming support in multiple counties across the state in 2004, our Democratic governor continues to run the state budget into the ground with quick financial fixes that increase future indebtedness, and will do nothing about this-the most fundamental problem of our state.
He has also failed to truly reform corruption in his own administration and in state government in spite of repeated campaign pledges to do so. We need a “clean” publicly financed election system, like Maine, Colorado, and several other states. Rich Whitney has urgently spoken out on this issue as well.
Rich Whitney and Julie Samules forcefully raised these and many other issues, to the chagrin of both mainstream candidates, and we think supporting the Greens who stand for real, and not just cosmetic, progressive reforms, can only help move Illinois to the left.
Julie Samuels (along with her husband, Bruce) have been active progressives in Oak Park for over 30 years, with a long record of accomplishments that have benefited all of us, including preserving the Green Line, founding the VCA, keeping utility rates down, and shutting down the West Side incinerator. She has also served on multiple village commissions and been a candidate for a number of state offices. We are privileged to have such an outstanding activist in our village.
Ron Baiman and Tom Broderick