|Candidate for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, attorney/accountant John Cox, 47, said he would oppose corruption and cronyism in Illinois politics.|
|Cox is calling himself the "true conservative" in the GOP race.|
|Sun Times's Scott Fornek quizzed Cox after the press conference|
Cox joins three other GOP candidates who have already announced their intentions to seek the same nomination -- investor-turned-teacher Jack Ryan, physician-turned-entrepeneur Chirinjeev Kathuria, and Schwarz Paper Company President Andy McKenna of Glenview.
Cox, 47, married and father of three high school and college aged daughters, said as he opened his announcement speech, "I see a new day dawning not just for Illinois but for America -- A day of true conservative values."
Calling himself the "true conservative" in the Republican race, Cox immediately focused on the issue he believes will resonate with Illinois voters in 2004 -- ending corruption and cronyism in Illinois politics.
After listing controversies such as the destruction of Meigs Field, sixty-three convictions in Operation Safe Roads, Blagojevich's connections in attempting to push through the SBC rate hike, and insider job changes from the gaming board to gaming corporation boards, Cox said that the corruption has to end "because it costs jobs, economic growth and results in less opportunity."
"Nowhere is the politics of corruption and cronyism more present than in the debate over the expansion of O'Hare Airport," Cox said. "The combine that is either in league with or afraid of the political power of the Mayor of Chicago has bought into the massive deception and misdirection of resources that is represented by that project."
Cox said that instead of investing more money into O'Hare, that he would support the building of the Peotone Airport, where the land is more reasonably priced and where there is a greater need for economic development. He said he would do what he could as Senator to block funding to add new runways to O'Hare.
That position is likely not to set well with pro-O'Hare federal legislators like House Speaker Denny Hastert, whose backing will be important in a multi-candidate primary.
Cox, who came in third during the 2000 Republican primary for U.S. Senate says that he is working from a base of the 187,000 votes he got in the March 2000 primary. With an expected low voter turnout and several candidates on the ballot, Cox said that a person could win the GOP nomination with 250 to 300 thousand primary votes.
Not willing to state the amount of funds he plans to spend on the primary, Cox said that his organization last time was a "grassroots" network, and he expects the same groups to back him again in 2004.
A steering committee member of the Illinois Center Right Coalition, Cox said he is prolife on the abortion issue, and that he is against the death penalty.
When asked about the current debate over whether or not the U.S. Constitution should be amended to define traditional marriage, Cox said that he thought the issue should be left to the states, and wanted to see a U.S. Supreme Court that did not legislate policy, as the court did last week.
"Illinois deserves a stateman in the mold of Everett Dirksen -- someone who will stand up for what is right, for principled leadership, for opportunity for all. I am dedicated to building a conservative movement in Illinois, and I am going to carry that fight to Washington as your next U.S. Senator."
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