Pontiac Daily Leader

Senate candidate stresses "reform"

By Christy Simonson/Staff Reporter

After stopping in LaSalle and Streator, and on his way to Danville for a reception for State Rep. Bill Black, a U.S. Senate GOP candidate for 2004, Jim Oberweis, was in Pontiac on Monday afternoon.

In a brief interview with the Daily Leader, Oberweis spoke on a few issues he believes in -- issues he said he feels will lead him to the Senate. He is among the Republicans seeking his party's nomination in the March 2004 primary for the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Peter Fitzgerald.

What Oberweis seemed to want to stress the most was that he is one of the only candidates in Illinois running for the nomination for the Senate who has a "serious reform package" under his belt. Also, Oberweis said, "My background really isn't business; it's creating jobs and opportunities for people. That's the major difference between myself and other candidates. Other candidates like to talk about creating jobs. I've done it."

Another plus Oberweis said he has going for his candidacy is, "I'm the only candidate with any background in agriculture." He went on to say that the subsidies and quotas in agriculture make no sense. "We need to move away from these things that hurt taxpayers and consumers."

Aside from his emphasis on agriculture, Oberweis has other issues he's campaigning on. Oberweis is all for immigration reform. "Immigration is a serious problem," he said. "We've been moving to give them special rights. I think that's wrong." When speaking of "special rights," Oberweis was referring to special in-state tuition rates given to illegal immigrants and the fact that Illinois was within one vote of passing a law to allow them driver's licenses.

"Immigrants should be legal. When we foster disregard for one law, that encourages disregard for other laws," Oberweis said.

Another issue Oberweis stressed is education. "We need to return more control of the educational process to the parents. They can make better decisions for their children than the government can."

Being a former teacher himself, having taught one year of math and science in Aurora, Oberweis hopes to improve the education in this country if elected to the Senate. Oberweis favors vouchers and home schooling, in addition to the "No Child Left Behind" federal education law.

Oberweis commented, "I also think it's important that we pay teachers on how good of a job they do, rather than how long they've done it."

Oberweis said that he is a "strong supporter of the Second Amendment and the sanctity of life," and when asked what his views on the war in Iraq were, he had much to say.

"I hate to see a single American life lost in a war of any kind." He went on to say that the war on terrorism began on Sept. 11, 2001, and that more lives were lost on that day than at Pearl Harbor.

"It's going to be a long war against terrorism," he continued, "and it's a war I'd prefer to fight in the Middle East than to fight here in America but we are going to have to fight it one way or another."

Oberweis said the U.S. military action in Iraq freed 25 million Iraqis and has given them "exposure to political and economic freedom" for the first time in their lives.

But the war, he said, is one "we will win. We are the good guys."

Oberweis wrapped up his visit to Pontiac by saying he's been number one and two in the polls and that volunteers are statewide. He commented that in the mail last Friday alone, his campaign received 800 signatures, and he's very pleased that they have well over the 10,000 needed to file the candidacy petitions.

Oberweis stated that he feels with his background in creating jobs in the state, the issues he stands on and the fact that he is "the only one" who is running with reform packages, that he can "defeat any Democratic candidate." His campaign web site is www.oberweis2004.com.

Oberweis was a candidate for the GOP nomination for the Senate in the 2002 primary, when he finished second to former State Rep. Jim Durkin. Durkin was defeated in the general election by incumbent Sen. Dick Durbin.

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After stopping in LaSalle and Streator, and on his way to Danville for a reception for State Rep. Bill Black, a U.S. Senate GOP candidate for 2004, Jim Oberweis, was in Pontiac on Monday afternoon.

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