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Why the Democratic Machine is afraid of a 24 yr. old Waiter

Green party candidate countered on right to be on ballot in Chicago, IL
Date: Wednesday, July 10, 2002 Place: 69 W. Washington, Conference Room 800

Time: 11 AM Event: Preliminary Hearing of Allen v Farbman

Why the Democratic Machine is afraid of a 24 year-old waiter.

The Speaker of the IL House of Representatives, its head legal counsel, and the IL Democratic Party legal counsel/Treasurer have all come together to throw Jason Farbman off the ballot for State Rep. in the 14th District. In one corner: the combined legal might of the IL Democratic Party. In the other: Jason Farbman - a 24 year-old waiter - representing himself. "If they want to outspend me 10, 20 to 1 in the General Election, that's one thing. It's not the ideal situation for a small campaign with a tight budget, but at this point it's legal. To kick me off the ballot, to not even let me run, that's just ridiculous. Why don't they just remove voting altogether, and tell us who our next officials will be?" Jason said, learning of the hearing (set to begin July 10).

Jason is running with the Green Party, which is still considered a 'New Party' in Illinois. In contrast to the 300 signatures an established Democrat or Republican might need, Jason was required to get 1,500. With far fewer resources than an established-party candidate would have, Jason and several Green Party locals set out to collect the signatures.

After two months of work, Jason and over 30 volunteers had collected over 2,400 signatures. They had spoken to well over 3,000 people, and the response had been overwhelming.
"I remember heading out in the beginning, expecting my age or casual appearance, or that I was running with an unfamiliar party to turn people off. But nearly everyone I've spoken to has been totally enthusiastic - they find it refreshing that I'm actually asking them for their vote myself, and not taking them for granted or expecting a political machine to do my work for me. People respect that someone can talk about issues that actually effect them - low wages, healthcare, the cost of housing - without skirting the issues or taking a paternalistic attitude, telling them 'what you need is this.' I'm younger, so I'm willing to listen; I work for a living, and I worry about whether I'm going to meet my bills, or whether the bus is going to come on time. Deep down, people can tell who is for real and who is selling them something. They can tell if someone really cares."

Jason's campaign has been attracting people of all stripes, who wouldn't ordinarily care about politics. He looks like them. He speaks to people without condescension, is eager to learn what they have to say. Accessibility of candidates and of government is the cornerstone of the Farbman for State Rep. Campaign. Jason Farbman has no political career to worry about, he is interested only in representing the working class; people the Democratic Party has been abandoning over the past three decades.

Michael Madigan must know this; his lawyers must know it as well. It's just too bad that instead of returning to fighting for what real working people need, they've chosen to sue any dissenting voice off the ballot. Microsoft, try as they might, can't legally do away with every competitor to enter the market. Why, then, is it acceptable for the democratic process to be treated this way?



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