The murder of George Floyd was a horrifying event, and I am glad to see that charges have been brought against the four police officers involved in his death! These incidents of Police brutality cannot continue in a society built on the premise of equal protection and equal opportunity.
I applaud the peaceful protests we have seen throughout America. I like to believe that all Americans stand behind the protests to demand positive change in our society. However, I was shocked by the rioters that co-opted the protests and have injured fellow citizens and looted or destroyed countless businesses –including black-owned businesses – that will likely not be able to return.
It’s clear we are past due for real change in our communities. While I have been promoting liberty and equality since I began my campaign, the radical left in Springfield feeds division to maintain their power. In the last 3 years my opponent has been in office, he has done very little to actually address these or any minority issues. We need: better police accountability and training; an end to policing for-profit; and better education for children of all races.
Police accountability and training. In the Marine Corps, we had no room for racism. We underwent regular training and evaluation to ensure we were doing our job right by our Marines – all of them! This included regular performance evaluations and check-ups to ensure we were fit for duty in our stressful environments. Police should be subject to more stringent standards, since they are on the streets in our own communities and have to deal with some of our worst situations.
Policing-for-profit. This policy, known as civil asset forfeiture, has allowed police agencies to raise extra funds by impounding personal property without due process (i.e. convictions). Not only is this unconstitutional, but it has disproportionately affected minority communities. We don't need to control the process. We need to end it! For the last 3 years, my opponent has been piling on costs by increasing the gas tax and other taxes and fighting to extend the I-80 tollway all the way through Will County, yet again disproportionately affecting minorities and working-class families who often have less money to spend on these expenses!
Fix education. Too many of our schools in minority and working-class districts have been under-performing for too long! It’s time we see real reform in our education system so that all children have a good opportunity! My opponent believes: “Nothing that you will learn in the course of your studies will be of the slightest possible use to you”, except to tell when someone is lying to you. What good will this attitude do when our children need a real education for a real opportunity in life!
If we work on these and other issues impacting our minority communities, we can show that we truly care about every Illinoisan! This November, you have a clear choice: you can vote for someone who will fight for real reform and for making Illinois affordable for working families…or you can vote for more of what we have now.
-Ben Bierly (Major, USMC Ret.)