Robert Marshall: People in middle are being ignored

This is one of a seies of essays produced in response to an invitation from the Daily Herald on the topic, "Why I Should Be Illinois' Next Governor." The two Republicans and seven Democrats who have announced bids to seek the state's top job all were invited to describe themselves and their core positions. Publication of the op-eds began with submission by incumbent Republican Bruce Rauner and will continue daily on the Opinion page. Democrat Tio Hardiman declined.

Hi, my name is Dr. Robert Marshall. I am a physician and I live in Burr Ridge. I am a father of four and a Vietnam veteran.

I grew up in Dayton, Ohio. My family lived in public housing until I was 14 and then I helped my father build our own home. I won scholarships to private schools in the East, including Harvard Medical School.

I am currently a physician at Oak Forest Hospital. I am semiretired and receive Social Security.

Every penny I have I earned the hard way by working for it just as you have. I am not a millionaire or billionaire and therefore I appreciate it when the tax burden increases upon the middle class, of which I am a part.

The political landscape is changing drastically to endanger the middle class.

We know that the Republican Party has shifted to the right, but most people do not realize that in the past year, the Democratic Party has shifted far to the left. Candidates are proposing programs which will cause massive increases in property, sales, federal and state taxes.

The people in the middle are being ignored, and this is where I fit in.

I have not shifted to the far left. I have stayed in the middle, where the overwhelming majority of the people are. My platform in this race will be:

1. Oppose graduated income tax, which all of my opponents are in favor of. I feel this will be a tax targeted to the middle class in the suburbs and Chicago to bail out expensive pension and other wasteful programs.

2. Oppose any further increase in the income tax above 5 percent.

3. Oppose any new ideas which would result in higher property taxes. All of my opponents want to add on numerous programs that will raise property taxes by 20 to 30 percent on top of the already excessive taxes.

Another major problem concerns our financial status, including unfunded pensions, poor credit rating and unpaid debts. My plan to solve this problem is unique. Some people would think it is bold and risky but I do not agree.

My plan is to divide the state of Illinois up into smaller states. I have chosen four states:

1. The city of Chicago

2. Suburbs extending to Route 355

3. The part of Illinois north of Route 80

4. The rest of Illinois south of Route 80

Each state would be a brand new state with its own constitution, governor, two senators, a legislature, etc. Each state would inherit its share of the debts and pensions from the present state of Illinois, but all of these debts would be renegotiable. Each new state would decide itself how much it would pay toward these programs and therefore could start off on a much better financial footing than we are in today.

The third major problem in Illinois involves the extreme violence that is occurring in Chicago. My plan for this also is unique.

The cause of all of these murders is mainly the drug trade. There is so much money in this trade that people are killing each other over this money.

We have to take the money out of the drug trade. We must:

1. Legalize marijuana throughout the state of Illinois.

2. Decriminalize the possession of cocaine and morphine so the medical community can treat these addicts as patients rather than criminals.

These two proposals would take the money out of the drug trade and decrease the violence in Chicago drastically. The same strategy was used in the 1930s regarding Prohibition. It worked then, and it should work again.

This solution would also result in an enormous amount of money coming in through the new marijuana industry. I would use this money to support the schools and also to give a rebate back to property owners throughout the state.

Democrat Robert Marshall is a physician from Burr Ridge.

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