Eric Lieberman is currently running on the Republican ticket for State Representative of Illinois’ 18th District against Democrat incumbent Robyn Gabel.
Eric Lieberman doesn’t mince words when asked why he should be elected State Representative for Illinois’ 18th District.
Lieberman said he sees a state headed for financial meltdown, a government operating ineffectually due to corrupt, machine politics, and elected officials without the backbones necessary to make the tough choices necessary to better the situation.
“I have a very sober view of where our state is at and the dire condition it is in, so I can’t give a really upbeat message to anybody,” Lieberman said. “I know enough, I’ve been around the block enough to know that there are some really painful things that we have to do.”
Though Lieberman has described himself on his website as a “lifelong liberal, Jewish Democrat who grew up in Evanston”, “spent the late 1960s getting tear-gassed in war protests at Berkley” and voted for President Obama in 2008, he said he decided to run on the Republican ticket because “no incumbent should run unopposed.”
“I met initially with the Republican leaders in this district and they said, ‘be who you are,’” Lieberman said. “And there has been no attempt to try to shape or stifle or control or conform me in any way. And I wouldn’t be [willing to].”
Lieberman, who was raised in Evanston, has no background as a public official, but cites his employment experience as a reporter, a lawyer and a CEO as providing him with the knowledge and skill set to represent the district.
Lieberman’s Four T’s
Lieberman’s bases his candidacy on what he calls the “four essential T’s”: truth, transparency, take action and tax reform.
The first step toward government reform, said Lieberman, involves truth, because only after politicians are truthful with themselves and their constituents, can they begin to tackle the state’s problems. He has openly called for the removal of House Speaker Michael Madigan, calling him a protector of the status quo and “a conduit to keeping incumbents in office.” Lieberman outright accuses Madigan “and his pack” of obscuring truth in government.
Likewise, Lieberman said he thinks state government should be more transparent with its spending. He boasts on his website that as president and chief officer of a Wisconsin-based software company, he increased financial transparency, and, by doing so, tripled the firm’s revenue, turning “a $10 million deficit into a $15 million bank account.”
Lieberman has proposed building a “government dashboard” that would digitally track whether the state was staying on target financially, determine if it was meeting key performance indicators and continually update analytics such as the “cost of government per resident” and the “percent [of] pension funds [that] are underfunded”.
The “take action” portion of his “four T’s” seems to be less of a government issue and more a call for Illinois residents to be more entrepreneurial. Lieberman said that he encouraged new groups to form that would spur innovation and spit out new businesses, but he gave no indication that he expected the state to fund such programs.
Lastly, Lieberman supports tax reform that even he called “a pretty radical idea” -- one that would allow Illinois resident to “vote with their tax dollars” by allowing each taxpayer to choose and allocate how their money would be spent.
“We keep electing people that fail,” Lieberman said. “By allowing people to really vote through their dollars, we could get control of things back and get these corrupt politicians out of office and out of control… We can brainstorm it.”
Though he admitted that it was unlikely such a system would be put in place, he said he hoped to use the idea to spark meaningful dialogue that would cause legislators to reconsider how the state budget is currently created.
Lieberman said that the key to beating Gabel will be convincing Evanston Democrats and independents to vote for him. By his math, even if he were to take every vote in Kenilworth, Wilmette and Winnetka, he would lose without the support of those demographics.
“I hope Evanstonians will vote for ideas and honesty and independence and breaking out from under the whole party schema,” Lieberman said. “Vote for someone who can actually accomplish things… [Gabel] does not bring the power or the strength or the presence to the job that I do. I don’t find her to be a persuasive or powerful person that could influence events in the General Assembly. I think that she’s a person who can follow.”
Lieberman said he is confident that he will win the election
“I will beat Robyn Gabel,” he said. “I’m already thinking about where I’m going to live in Springfield.”
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