Daily Egyptian

SIU law students welcomes another candidate for U.S. Senate

By Gus Bode

Jonathan Wright visits SIU Law School to gain support for primaries

In the race to win the upcoming primaries for the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by Sen. Peter Fitzgerald, candidates are scrambling for recognition, and the SIUC Law School Republicans think Jonathan Wright deserves a little.

Wright, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, visited the SIUC Law School Friday afternoon to address his campaign issues and garner support.

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According to Kevin Dawson, a second-year law student and president of the Law School Republicans, the group tries to promote political activism through the Republican Party.

Dawson said while the group is not endorsing any particular person, they invited Wright to speak because they liked his position on certain issues and wanted to help him get his name out.

“Jonathan Wright recognizes some of the inherent problems in the political process,” Dawson said.

“He’s running on a good conservative message that people in Southern Illinois need to hear in order to make an educated decision for the primary election in March.”

Speaking only briefly to give a rundown of his background information and experience, Wright left most of the time for questions and answers, allowing law school students to address major campaign issues such as abortion, gay marriage and the economy.

In strong opposition to abortion, even in instances of rape and incest, Wright said he is unaware of any condition or circumstance where abortion is the only option.

“There are a lot of options other than taking the life of a child,” Wright said.

“Pro-life is based upon the innocence of the life of a child and the precept that that child is alive and a human being. Therefore, the act of that person who committed the rape should not cause an innocent child to lose his or her life.”

In terms of birth control, Wright said while he does not advocate the use of birth control in terms of public/sex education programs and would rather see the money spent on abstinence programs, he said he believes it is a matter of choice.

A devout Christian, Wright is also in strong opposition to gay marriage.

He said while people have every right to choose to live a homosexual/lesbian lifestyle, they cannot expect society to approve.

“People in this country, if they want to choose that lifestyle, can choose it and practice it freely,” Wright said.

“But when you start talking about a marriage or civil union, you’re now asking society to sanction it and say we approve of this. And that’s a whole different question, and I don’t think their views ought to be forced upon everyone else.”

With other issues such as life insurance policies and health insurance benefits high on the list of concerns for homosexual and lesbian couples living as families, Wright said because same-sex couples are not recognized legally as spouses or family members, they are not responsible for each other.

Wright said while wills are alternatives to life insurance conflicts, same sex unions are situations in which each individual is responsible for himself or herself, and he will in no way condone or support them.

“I support the traditional nuclear family and efforts to preserve the family through legislation prohibiting the recognition of gay marriage/unions,” Wright said in his position statement on the subject.

Wright spoke on the economy, a sensitive topic in both the Senate and presidential races.

Wright said he thinks the best way to create jobs and economic growth is to let the business sector handle it without the interference of the federal government.

“The federal government does not create jobs, and they never have outside of bureaucracy,” Wright said.

On a local level, Wright said he disagrees whole-heartedly with Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s handling of the state’s economy and budget deficit.

He said the governor’s passing of increased taxes to businesses, such as the trucking industry in order to keep taxes affecting the average worker and taxpayer stable, has had an adverse effect on the business industry in Illinois.

“At the federal level, we can restructure taxes and create a healthy business climate federally,” Wright said.

“But so long as we have an anti-business and job climate in Illinois, the jobs don’t come back to Illinois. They may go to Indiana, Wisconsin, Missouri and Kentucky, but they don’t come back here.”

Wright also said Blagojevich’s mortgaging of the state in an attempt to counteract the budget deficit has resulted in the doubling of the state’s debt.

Wright said while the state may be reaping the benefits of this action now, as it will not have to repay the bond for 20 years, there is no way to combat problems that may occur in the future before the bond is repaid.

“He may go around claiming, ‘Well, we fixed the deficit now,’ but it’s a one-time fix,” Wright said. “If we have future revenue problems, you can’t mortgage a building twice. Fiscally, we are a house of cards.”

A prosecutor from Hartsburg, Ill., Wright is one of seven candidates running on the Republican ticket for U.S. Senate hoping to replace Fitzgerald.

According to Laura Anne Miller, press secretary for Fitzgerald, Fitzgerald’s reason for not seeking re-election after just one term was to spend more time with his family.

Although Wright has never served in an elected position, according to Jennifer Bedell, communications director for Citizens for Wright, he is one of two candidates with prior legislative experience, having served as assistant state’s attorney for Logan County and as an Illinois State Representative in the former 90th district.

And while Wright is at the bottom of the polls, according to a telephone poll conducted by the Chicago Tribune and WGN TV, he has two distinct qualities that set him apart from his contemporaries:He is the only candidate in the race that is not from the Chicago area, and he is not wealthy.

According to Bedell, Wright as the only downstate candidate has an advantage over the other six candidates.

“I think we have an influx of representation for our state from the Chicago area,” Bedell said. “And while that area is important to our state, I think some Illinois constituents would view it as valuable to have a representative, someone who is a little more in touch with the downstate area and has a vested interest in representing the state as a whole.”

With four of the seven candidates in the Republican pool being wealthy, millionaire businessmen and entrepreneurs, Wright, who is married with five young children, has a campaign staff that is completely run with volunteers, one of the things he thinks is unique.

“We’re running a grassroots campaign,” Wright said.

“It’s a unique election because a U.S. Senate race of this magnitude with the majority hanging in the balance in Washington, D.C., and this being one of the key states, there is very little public attention to this race.”

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