Q+A with Julie Fox, Libertarian for Illinois State Comptroller
To read all about the Illinois Comptroller race, click here
For the second interview on this website, I present the first statewide candidate Q+A with Julie Fox, the Libertarian candidate for Comptroller of the State of Illinois. Fox has been heavily involved in the Libertarian Party of Illinois and has a professional background as a CPA. She is currently the controller for Bell Flavors and Fragrances, Inc., a chemical manufacturing corporation in Northbrook, Illinois. She ran in 2002 for Comptroller, receiving 4.2% of the vote statewide.
The Comptroller seat in Illinois is open as longtime incumbent Dan Hynes ran and lost the Democratic nomination for Governor. Democrats have selected David Miller, a State Representative in the south suburbs of Chicago. Republicans chose Judy Baar Topinka, formerly the State Treasurer for 12 years. The Green Party will be represented on the ballot by Erika Schaefer. All candidates have been invited to participate in this Q+A.
Without further ado – here is the Q+A with Julie Fox. You can visit her campaign website here.
1. Why do you want to be Illinois’ Comptroller?
I want to use my expertise and experience as a CPA and a Controller, as well as my financial experience in the public sector, to help fix the financial mess that Illinois is in. Changing to financial reporting methods used in the private sector, and bringing transparency to Illinois’ financial reporting, will go a long way towards helping us get out of the current financial crisis that is hurting all Illinois residents.
2. The position of Comptroller is often misunderstood by voters. In your opinion, what are the three most important roles that a Comptroller plays in Illinois state government?
The three most important roles that the Comptroller plays in Illinois are
1) Maintaining accounts and developing accounting rules and controls
2) Reporting Illinois’ financial position at the federal, state, and local levels
3) Serving as a check against unconstitutional payments.
3. You ran for this position in 2002 and received 4.2% of the vote. Do you believe you can win this year? If so, why is this year different? If not, why have you chosen to run?
I do believe that I can win in 2010. In 2002 I ran a non-active campaign yet still received 4.2% of the vote. The mood of Illinois voters in 2010 is much more negative toward major party candidates than it was in 2002. One only needs to look at the 2006 election results to see in what direction voters are moving. The Green Party candidate for governor, Chris Whitney, won an unbelievable 10% in the governor’s race, making it obvious that Illinois voters are fed up with the corrupt politicians that the major parties continue to run for office.
Two recent Illinois polls put the Libertarian candidate for governor at 21% and 31% of the vote. In one of those polls, pollsters commented that people who voted outside of their usual political party chose Libertarian candidates more often this year than ever before.
In addition, when you consider the recent indictments of both Democratic and Republican governors in Illinois, it’s clear that Illinois voters are looking for an alternative now more than ever before. 2010 is truly the year for Libertarian candidates in Illinois to get elected!
4. You are from nearby Chicago. What is your favorite neighborhood in the city to spend time in and why?
My family moved to a farm in the far northwest suburbs of Chicago when I was eight years old. I’ve always enjoyed the country more than the city, but I do enjoy visiting Chicago pretty regularly and taking part in some of the many things it has to offer. If I had to choose one neighborhood as my favorite, it would be Wrigleyville. I enjoy the festivals, restaurants, and bands, and most of all, I enjoy visiting my family members who live there.
5. This year and next, Springfield will have to be intently focused on eliminating the huge budget deficit. How would you eliminate the 13 million dollar gap in the budget?
In my position as Comptroller, I cannot directly eliminate the budget deficit; that is up to members of the state legislature. What the Comptroller can do is provide state legislators and Illinois residents with an accurate view of the state’s current financial position. That is why I advocate changing to accrual financial reporting methods used in the private sector.
Our current state financial reporting methods under-report liabilities and report expenses long after the time in which they were incurred. What is being reported is not reflective of Illinois’ true current financial position. The first step towards fixing our financial mess is to understand it, and that can only be done by changing to an accrual-based financial reporting system.
Although I cannot directly change such things, I would advocate for large reductions in spending in a number of different areas:
1. The first thing to go would be the Membership Initiative Fund, which is nothing more than blatant pork barrel spending, funding such things as statues in legislators’ districts.
2. The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, whose main activity is disbursing funds to local businesses, should also be abolished. Lower taxes and regulations – a business-friendly environment – is the reason businesses should come to Illinois. Corporate welfare in Illinois needs to end.
3. Consolidating the offices of Treasurer and Comptroller, as 40 states have already done, would save millions of dollars each year.
4. Freeing all non-violent drug offenders from prison would also save millions of dollars annually. We should treat drug abuse as a medical issue, not a criminal one.
6. We are nearing the end of the Vancouver Winter Olympics. What is your favorite Winter Olympic sport?
Figure skating is my favorite sport.
7. Who did you vote for in the 2008 Presidential primary and election?
I voted for Ron Paul in the primary, and for Bob Barr in the general election.
8. Who are three people (famous or not) who have inspired you to be involved in politics and running for public office?
The three people who have inspired me the most to be involved with politics and to run for office have been Mahatma Gandhi, Ron Paul, and Ed Thompson.
I have always found Gandhi to be particularly inspirational. I still find it utterly amazing that one man could lead a country the size of India to independence on a campaign of non-violence. Gandhi showed us that anything is possible with the right approach, persistence, and determination.
Ron Paul inspires me because he shows that it is possible to be a politician and keep your principles. He inspires me because of the strength of his principles, the clarity of his message, and his dedication to the cause of limited government.
Ed Thompson is the only one of these three who I have known on a personal level. Like Gandhi and Paul, he is a person of principle, he is very passionate about what he believes in, and he speaks from his heart. He won 11% as the Libertarian Party candidate in the WI 2002 governor’s election, and I believe that it was largely based upon those qualities.
These three men have inspired me, showing me that persistence is well worth it, principles are important and still do matter to people, and that anything is possible. That gives me the determination to run as a principled third-party candidate despite some of the most restrictive ballot access laws in the nation.
9. The Federal Government is looking to buy a maximum-security prison in north-west Illinois, potentially to imprison terrorists formally held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Do you agree with this policy?
I do not agree with this.
10. What one book would you recommend that every American read?
While it’s hard to narrow it down to only one book, given the current political and financial situation in the U.S., I recommend Ron Paul’s book, Revolution: A Manifesto. The book is short and easy to read, and points out alternatives to the way in which government operates today, alternatives in line with the Constitution, which worked quite well when we used them in the past. He points out ways in which we have created much of the financial crises that we are trying to resolve today.
Many people cannot comprehend alternatives to big government because so few of them have existed in the recent past, but Ron Paul uses them as perfect examples of how easy and practical it would be to get back to our small-government roots.