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52nd District Questionnaire: Joe Parnarauskis – Socialist Equality Party November 5, 2006

Posted by j-dub in Local, Politics.
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For those of you who might not know, Joe Parnarauskis is the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) candidate for the 52nd Senate District seat.

Most of you in our area will be voting on this race on Tuesday (November 7th).

First, let me give a BIG thanks to Joe Pa for actually answering the questionnaire that I sent out.

The other two candidates, whom I will not mention in this post, didn’t even give a bother; not even a “sorry, we’re too busy” email.

Anyways, follow this link to see the original questions I sent to all 3 candidates. The questions are also listed below, before the responses.

Below are Mr. Parnarauskis’ answers. Enjoy, some very good reading.

J-dub’s Questionnaire
Joseph Parnarauskis
SEP candidate for state senate in the 52nd district

1. What do you like most about the 52nd District?

“The people. This district is full of honest and sincere working people and students.”

2. Who has inspired you the most personally, professionally?

“There are many people, but one in particular has inspired us during this campaign, and that is Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln practiced law in this area, and was called forward to leadership in the struggle to abolish slavery from the land. Lincoln was also the standard-bearer of a new third party—the Republican Party–that had to break down the old two-party duopoly that had for years propped up slavery.”

3. Give ONE reason why you are a better selection than the other 2 candidates?

“I am the only candidate who stands for the interests of working people.”

4. What do you think is the single most important issue (a.k.a. #1
priority) that needs addressed with relation to our District and/or State?

“Certainly, the biggest single issue facing working people in this area is the ongoing war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many young men and women have been killed or maimed from this district and state, and billions of Illinois tax dollars have been squandered on it—depriving social services, education, and infrastructure of desperately-needed funds. Fundamental principles of the American republic and democracy are being undermined in the service of the so-called war on terror. On top of this, a recent study from Johns Hopkins found that 655,000 Iraqis have been killed so far in this war, which both the Democrats and Republicans have backed to the hilt.

“I am the only candidate on the ballot who opposes the war and calls for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of US troops from all foreign bases. I think it is entirely legitimate—in fact, it is my duty as a candidate in a public election campaign—to draw attention to the most pressing issues of the day, regardless of the office I am seeking.

“In fact, the eruption of American militarism is bound up with social problems which find their direct expression in the 52nd district, and which are eminently pertinent to a state senator: the attack on democratic rights and the attack on working-class living conditions.

“In 2004 and 2006, as the SEP attempted to get on the ballot in this area, we were met with the full force of the American political establishment. This year, the Democrats spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and deployed dozens of their key personnel in the effort to exclude me from the ballot. We only achieved ballot access after 80 days of legal and administrative hearings, where we fought the Democrats every step of the way.

“Danville, near where I live, has been hit especially hard by the sharp redistribution of wealth to the super-rich. In Danville, unemployment is now 8.4%, only 70% of students graduate high school, and the median household income is declining the fastest out of all of the cities in all of the states in the US. Home prices fell by 18.4% last year, and are expected to fall again this year by an additional 20%.

“I encourage everyone to find out more about the SEP and my platform at our website, http://www.wsws.org.”

5. Abortion – Personally, do you agree/disagree with abortion? Legally, what would be your ideal abortion policy?

“Abortion should be fully legal, with full state financial support in cases of financial need. Abortion is a medical procedure that must be taken out of the hands of the politicians and placed back where it belongs: as a private decision between a woman and her doctor.”

6. Minimum Wage Increase – Would you vote to help raise the minimum wage, or would you like to keep the minimum wage the same as it stands now?

“I call for a sharp increase in the minimum wage, and in Springfield I would fight for the biggest increase possible. The current minimum wage is absurdly low. At the same time, I’m warning workers that the Democratic Party is talking about a miserly increase in the minimum wage only because we’re in an election year. Workers can’t be fooled by these false promises any longer. To defend their interests, workers have to build their own
socialist, international political party that can fight against corporate globalization, which is the ultimate source of the relentless attacks on workers’ living standards in this country and around the world.”

“I encourage everyone to read my statement on the issue here.”

7. Stem Cell Research – Is this a wise venture for the State? Should we be spending state funds to promote such research?

“Stem cell research holds open the possibility of major medical and scientific breakthroughs, and I support its development with state funding. As a registered nurse, I’ve witnessed over the years the important impact scientific research and development has on matters of life and death. Politicians with a religious agenda cannot be allowed to stifle scientific thought.”

8. Alternative Fuels – Do you feel as if we are doing as much as possible with respect to alternative fuels? Either way, please explain your answer.

“We in the Socialist Equality Party support serious scientific research on alternative fuels. But the notion that the replacement of alternative fuels for oil offers a way out of geopolitical conflict and environmental destruction–an idea that the Greens are busy peddling–is bankrupt. The basic issue is this: the commanding heights of the American and world economy must be taken out of the hands of the wealthy elite and placed under
the democratic control of working people. Only in such a way can a rationally-planned and humane economy develop. Again, I encourage your readers to visit our election platform at wwws.wsws.org. We believe we are the only party standing in this election that actually bothered to produce a platform.”

9. Social Security – Do we need to reform the Social Security system? If so, do you agree/disagree with President Bush’s idea to privatize the system? If you disagree with privatization, please briefly explain your solution.

“I oppose privatization of the Social Security system. This is a trick, pure and simple, to allow Wall Street to get its hands on enormous new resources. Privatization would produce a disaster for millions upon millions of working-class Americans. But the Socialist Equality Party doesn’t only defend the current system from attack. We call for a vast expansion of retirement benefits and a lowering of the retirement age. The right to a secure retirement is a basic human right.”

10. Higher Education/Pensions – Do you think we need to increase funding to our schools, most notably at the college/university level? If so, how would propose increasing the funding? Also, how would you remedy the under-funded pension system in our state?

“When they’re not campaigning for election, the Democrats and Republicans claim that there is simply not enough money to do all the things you ask in this question. We reject that position with contempt. There are abundant resources to provide free higher education to all, fund our primary and secondary school system far beyond the current level, and fully fund the state pension system. The immense resources generated by Illinois workers, however, are being squandered to line the pockets of the wealthy elite and to carry out the murderous war in Iraq, which is supported by both major parties. To offer just two examples, Illinois now has 19 billionaires worth a combined $40 billion dollars, and Illinois taxpayers have funded the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to the tune of $20 billion dollars. These are enormous figures, and they put the lie to the claim that there’s just not enough money. In essence with the budgets they pass what the Democrats and Republicans are saying is that Illinois can no longer afford its workers and students. In fact, the opposite is the case: Illinois workers and students can no longer afford the superrich and the two parties they control!”

Please feel free to chime in with your thoughts and comments about Mr. Parnarauskis’ responses to my questions.

Also, be respectful of his replies or your posts will be removed. You can disagree/agree, critique, etc, but keep it intelligent and respectful!!!

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Comments»

1. j-dub - November 5, 2006

Sorry if I got carried away with the BOLD in this post. Let me know and I’ll change it.

2. J. Russell - November 6, 2006

Wow. I’m really impressed with what Joe has to say. It really makes sense. He’s completely different from the other two candidates, and I like it that he isn’t trying to smear them personally, but sticks to the issues. He’s definitely got my vote.

Pretty disappointing that the other two candidates couldn’t be bothered to responde to you, J-Dub. Keep up the good work.

3. j-dub - November 6, 2006

JR,

I agree. Joe had excellent answers to the questions. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I think it was an impressive set of responses.

I have my thoughts on the other two candidates lack of participation, but I won’t put them in Joe’s thread.

Thanks for the compliments JR!

4. Webloggin - December 6, 2006

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