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Guv cand Whitney (G-IL) Trumps Competitors in Tribune Debate and Proves Why He Should Be Included in Future Debates

Rich Whitney

Rich Whitney

Rich Whitney, the Illinois Green Party governor candidate, participated in a debate with all four of the other ballot-qualified competitors for governor today before the Chicago Tribune editorial board. The spirited and at time rancorous debate pointed out significant differences between all five candidates.

Before an audience of 42 people, topics such as the budget deficit and remedies, taxes, education, ethics and governing philosophy were discussed.

Rich Whitney focused on

  • the need to restructure the state’s system of taxation to increase revenues,
  • bring fairness to middle-and-lower-income taxpayers,
  • institute a new tax on derivative trading,
  • establish a state bank and implement a forensic audit to eliminate wasteful spending.

Whitney emphasized that this was the only realistic approach to restoring health to the budget, schools, colleges and vital social services — and thereby create the foundation for economic recovery and real job opportunities for all.

In sharp contrast, none of the other candidates for governor would squarely deal with the need to close the $10+ billion structural budget deficit. Senator Bill Brady, Scott Lee Cohen and Libertarian candidate Lex Green each claimed that the deficit could be closed without raising taxes of any kind, while Governor Quinn weighed in with “fuzzy math”, indicating that a one percent income tax increase and unspecified cuts would somehow close the gap. In response, Whitney blasted his rivals, declaring that “any candidate who claims that he can close a $10-plus billion deficit without raising new revenues is delusional, disingenuous or deliberately destructive.” Whitney added that “if the budget were literally to be balanced by spending cuts alone, it would cost an estimated 128,000 jobs during a deep recession.”

Whitney described himself as the “only candidate in the race providing real substantive answers to the state’s dire fiscal emergency and it’s obvious that I’m the only candidate who is not mathematically challenged.”

The Whitney for Governor campaign publicly thanks the Chicago Tribune for performing a civic service by inviting all ballot-qualified candidates to participate in the debate. We also look forward to the debate being made available to voters online, so that they can see for themselves how each candidate performed and thereby choose the best candidate — the way things should work in a democratic republic.

Rich Whitney is a 55-year-old civil rights and employment lawyer from Carbondale. As a lawyer, he has fought for working people who have lost their jobs or had their rights violated. A founder of the Illinois Green Party, he has long been politically active in support of the labor, health-care reform, environmental, civil rights, and peace movements. In 2006, he served as the Green Party’s first candidate for Governor, winning over 360,000 votes and making it possible for Illinois voters to have a third choice on the ballot statewide.

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