Doug Marks spent 2008 and much of 2009 in an immersion experience with what he quickly came to see as problems in the United States that need fixing.
He was unemployed.
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After being laid off as a consequence of a sluggish economy, he watched his old job get outsourced overseas. Then he watched the pool of jobs he was interested in vanish along with his savings. Soon he was about one missed mortgage payment away from losing his home.
Luckily, the 49-year-old Carpensterville man landed a job, at a 20 percent pay cut, in time to rescue the life he'd built for his wife, Colette, and children. But a new paycheck didn't abate the anger and disappointment instilled in him, he said, by the time he spent watching the federal government try and solve the problems he and many people he knew faced. Marks spent much of his time between job interviews reading through the federal budget, health care reform bills and watching the impact of the federal stimulus plan.
What unfolded before him was all the inspiration he needed to try and be part of a better solution than any politician he'd seen during his 45 years in the 14th Congressional District. Now he'll spend the next three months trying to gather a challenge-proof 25,000 petition signatures to get on the November ballot as a Libertarian candidate.
"I've spent most of my life in this district," Marks said. "The representation that we've put in Washington has never really voiced the peoples' voice. It's voiced party agenda. It's voiced corporate voice. I don't have a party, and I don't want to be a career politician."
Marks is against a specific law granting rights to gay people. He believes in the legalization of marijuana. He believes abortion is a state issue not subject to federal regulation. He is not a fan of the corporate bailouts handed out by the federal government or the recently passed health care reform changes. And he has a specific rebuttal on his Web site to incumbent Congressman Bill Foster's federal stimulus report card where Marks relabels several items Foster cites as achievements as a "huge waste of taxpayer money" or having "no basis in fact."
Marks' first two methods for straightening out the economy is eliminating grants and tax credits in the federal budget that he describes as "corporate welfare." Marks specifically cited money given to McDonald's to promote the Big Mac in Europe. He also wants to abolish the Federal Reserve.
"The Federal Reserve is an organization that, in my opinion, was brought into play with a twisted look at the Constitution, and it should not be around today," Marks said. "They are artificially keeping interest rates low to falsely crank up the economy. It's going to cause another bust. You can't thrive on loans and debt."
On the War on Terror: "I'm a firm believer in our military. There are some very evil people in this world. Those people need to be taken out selectively. We don't need hundreds of thousands of troops putting their lives on the line. We're over (in Iraq and Afghanistan) for corporate interests, not for securing the border of the United States."
On immigration: Marks supports reform of immigration laws to make it easier to become a U.S. citizen, including mandatory military or public service for three or four years. He believes in state-created penalties for adult illegal immigrants, but not necessarily their children. He believes the only medical care that should be provided to illegal immigrants is to save a life before being deported. He is against requiring schools to educate children whose parents are illegal immigrants.