QUINCY -- Illinois requirements for third-party candidates are meant to protect a two-party system, which hurts voters. That's what Libertarian Party candidate for governor Kash Jackson believes.
"They're not getting a full opportunity to hear the voice of a different candidate and see what a different perspective looks like," Jackson said. "We've just really been conditioned to Republicans and Democrats and their platforms and what it looks like, and I don't think we've done right by the people of Illinois in giving them the opportunity to hear a different kind of message of what liberty and freedom looks like."
Third-party candidates must file 25,000 signatures with the Illinois State Board of Elections to get on the ballots, while candidates from the Democratic and Republican parties need 5,000.
Jackson was joined by several other Libertarian candidates for statewide office at a luncheon Saturday at One: Special Event Venue. The appearance was hosted by the Quincy Tea Party and the Western Illinois Libertarian chapter.
Jackson, 39, a native of Bossier City, La., and a retired Navy veteran, argued that he and Conservative Party candidate Sam McCann should be included in all gubernatorial debates, instead of limiting debates to Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic candidate J.B. Pritzker.
"The majority of Illinois is not Republican, and they are not Democrat," he said. "The majority are independents, and a lot of people would identify Libertarians as being really independent because we're about limited government, we're about limited taxation and we're about protecting individual rights as long as those individual rights don't infringe upon the rights of other people."
Jackson's candidacy has been hit with reports of overdue child support owed to an ex-wife. He confirmed that he faces jail time in Lake County if he doesn't pay overdue child support to his former wife.
A report from WFLD in Chicago said if he doesn't pay the support by Aug. 6, he faces a six-month sentence.
Jackson argued that the family court system should be nonpartisan, unbiased and should protect children and families.
"They're using our families and our children to maximize litigation," he said. ‘They destroy good families, and when you have families like myself, there is no reason why us as parents should have to spend thousands and thousands of dollars fighting to be in your kids' lives."
He said child support orders taking 40 or 50 percent of parents' incomes potentially drive them into poverty.
"I'm not opposed to paying child support," he said. "I paid successfully for 12 years on my older son with no problems until I set foot in Lake County, and when they set my support order that went over 40 percent -- at that time -- of my income, there's no way an average citizen can lose 40 percent of their income and not have financial difficulties."
Also joining Jackson was secretary of state candidate Steve Dutner, who believes the Illinois Driver Services facilities should be privatized.
Comptroller candidate Claire Bell of Addison said as an accountant, she is the only candidate with a financial background, and attorney general candidate Bubba Harsy, who said the office should be used to prosecute corruption.
Mecki Kosin of the Quincy Tea Party said all four gubernatorial candidates were invited to speak at the same event, but Jackson was the only candidate to respond.