Opinions from Vince LaMie
Candidate for State Representative District 105

Being a truck driver gives me plenty of opportunity to listen to talk radio. I listen to the only 2 types of political shows that seem to be available, conservative and liberal. I try to listen to each with a critical eye (or in this case ear) because I don't believe we should blindly follow anything or anyone that is not perfect and no person or organization has reached perfection or even 98.5% perfection.

It concerns me to think that a large group of people are only getting one side of every story. That, to me, seems to be a form of blind following which leads to single-mindedness and an "us vs. them" mentality. Throughout our history that mentality has lead us to do dreadful things to the groups of people that were, at the time, considered "them". We enslaved black people, we decimated Indian people's tribes, we passed laws against hiring Chinese people, and we put Japanese people in concentration camps. I used the word people in each of those examples because we may not have done these things if we would have considered these groups people. We couldn't do these things to people, but we could do it to "them".

What groups of people now are considered "them"? Republicans? Democrats? Liberals? Conservatives? Blacks? Mexicans? Gays? The rich? The unemployed? Muslims?

I have heard that you can't have an effective political or social movement without an enemy (them). So when you hear relentless bashing of one group of people (which can be identified many times by name calling "idiots", "whackos", "psychos", and more), these radio and TV "personalities" are pushing a movement, and their ratings, by creating an enemy.

I want to strengthen a political movement not by creating an enemy, but by identifying an enemy that is not a group of people. The corruption that is pervasive throughout our state government is our enemy. That corruption allows politicians to reward each other from their campaign funds. It allows districts to be drawn so that elected officials choose voters instead of voters choosing candidates. It gives ultimate power over enacting laws to a very select few. It gives very little power to law enforcement to fight and prosecute corrupt officials. It allows judges to be influenced by campaign donations. It allows elected officials to reward big donors with state contracts. It allows "borrowing" from employee's retirement accounts with no plan for repayment.

Instead of letting TV or radio personalities direct our conversations to "them", let's focus our attention on the "it" that is truly holding our state back - corruption.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

From: Vince LaMie Woodworth, IL
Candidate for State Representative District 105
Contact information: email vince@vincelamie.com campaign website www.vincelamie.com
phone 815.471.2769

I grew up in Kankakee and still subscribe to the Daily Journal. Lately there has been a lot
of coverage for opinions in favor or against George Ryan's early release from federal
prison. I found myself trying to form an opinion. In this process my sympathy for Mr. Ryan
and his family was pitted against my anger toward our Illinois government so corrupted by
money, so I tried to get more information about the case.

I had read about the health issues the Ryan family faces, but I didn't recall (I probably
never knew) the actual crimes for which Mr. Ryan had been convicted. I thought it was
appropriate to review those crimes while also considering the family's hardships and the
victims of the crimes.

I found a list of crimes through the Chicago Tribune's website.

Count 1 racketeering conspiracy:
Ryan and Lawrence Warner conspired to defraud the people of Illinois by using Ryan's
elected offices for personal gain. Ryan defrauded the state of honest services by funneling
lobbying contracts and state leases to Warner and others, using and promoting state
employees for political work and gutting the Secretary of State's internal investigation
unit.

Count 1 explicitly states the crimes were against the people of Illinois, i.e. the victims.
The remainder of the crimes were attempts to cover up those crimes or using the postal
system to distribute illegal funds.

If Mr. Ryan does not qualify for early release, the decision falls to President Obama
because Mr. Ryan was convicted on federal charges. If President Obama chooses to grant
early release, it should not be done without releasing all federal prisoners in similar
circumstances. Mr. Ryan should not get considerations that are not afforded to any other
prisoner.

If Illinois were not the poster child for corrupt government, and if Mr. Ryan's actions and
the actions of so many Illinois politicians had not eroded our faith in our governmental
system, I would advise Mr. Obama (I'm expecting a call any day now) to grant early release
to Mr. Ryan.

But considering Illinois' well-earned reputation for corrupt government and the crimes
committed, I would advise Mr. Obama not to grant early release.

I realize there is no absolute correct answer to this. If someone came to a different
conclusion, after considering all the information, it could be a reasonable conclusion.
Finally, is there more information that needs to be considered about this case? If the
crimes were against the people of Illinois, why didn't the people of Illinois bring those
charges against Mr. Ryan?

VINCE LAMIE FOR STATE REPRESENTATIVE
www.vincelamie.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Monday March 1, 2010

VINCE LAMIE DENOUNCES CULTRA'S CORPORAL PUNISHMENT BILL; BRINGS FOCUS BACK TO THE REAL ISSUES

Contact:
Vince LaMie
Candidate, Illinois State Representative, District 105
815.471.2769
vince@vincelamie.com

Vince LaMie, Green Party candidate for Illinois State Representative, District 105, denounced Shane Cultra's effort to reinstate corporal punishment in Illinois schools. 

"I want to give teachers the tools they need to promote a healthy learning environment, but this bill is an ill-conceived shot-from-the hip that would have negative consequences on the students of Illinois," said LaMie.  "Several other educational issues, including budget cuts, the state's lack of payment, and funding inequity, need to take precedence over a futile discussion to bring back corporal punishment."

LaMie, who was a high school math teacher for 16 years, stressed the importance of working with the affected parties and experts. 

"Before introducing potentially harmful legislation on this issue, a legislator has the responsibility to speak with parents, teachers, principals, and educational researchers.  Cultra has indicated this is more of a gut feeling than a solid solution.  We need a well-funded and equitable school system that works hand-in-hand with parents and educators to better teach future generations," said LaMie.

In regards to the bill, Cultra commented "I do a lot of legislation that doesn't go anywhere and this is probably one of them." 

LaMie agreed that, "Although the current stalemate between and within the corporate parties causes a lot of legislation to go nowhere, we have too many serious problems to be wasting taxpayer time and money with trivial legislation.  We are facing an immense budget emergency that needs to be addressed now."

But do we have faith that our current legislators will adequately address this emergency?

LaMie expressed his hopes for November in a state continually plagued by scandal and fiscal mismanagement.

"For the last several decades, Illinois voters have elected corrupt, corporate-backed, oftentimes jail-bound, candidates because that was their only choice.  Reform must come from those of us who are fed-up with our state being the poster-child for corrupt government.  With new choices provided by candidates who are not part of the current inept system and high levels of discontent with incumbents, I have hope that the voters will break from the past and elect candidates who refuse to sell-out to special interests.  Show Springfield that we are not apathetic, that we are not complacent, and we will be involved in cleaning up our corrupt system."