Proft: Top of the morning, Dan and Amy. And, we've got a governor's election in Illinois, obviously other statewide Constitutional offices as well, legislative races. But with two Leftist plutocrats running...
Jacobson: Yeah, I don't know which one's more progressive.
Jacobson: Yeah. Governor Rauner and JB.
Proft: Well, it's a stiff competition, and that's the only thing stiff between the two of those.
Proft: But...is this an option...a third-party candidacy? Is that something you'll consider this cycle? I mean, this is very much like Gary Johnson's run, when you had two candidates of the two major parties that were not particularly well-liked by the electorate. So the question for Kash Jackson, Libertarian candidate for Illinois...is do you know where Allepo is? Do you know what that is? Because we don't want you to fall prey to the Gary Johnson problem!
Jackson (in studio): I think I pinpointed it.
Proft: Okay, very good. And the reason you can is because you're somewhat steeped in these geopolitical and national security issues because your background is military.
Jackson: Absolutely, yes. Spent 20 years in the United States Navy, retired in 2016 at the ripe old age of 37, and so yeah, I did have the opportunity to travel all around the world, circumnavigate the globe. Albeit, we did cheat inside the submarine, we went to the top of the globe and did the smallest circle we possibly could, but I think it "circumnavigate the globe", yeah. I did my time in the military, and now I'm in politics.
Proft: Hotrodding in a nuclear sub.
Proft: All right, very good.
Jacobson: That's the only way to go! The only way to travel. But you were born in Louisiana, but you were stationed up here for a while. And now do you live here, you call this place home?
Jackson: Yeah, so right now I live up in Antioch, in Lake County. I'm maybe two miles from the Wisconsin border (Proft: Oh yeah.), and love it up there, live up there around a bunch of big horse farms, and my little three-bedroom, one-bath farmhouse, and I like it up there.
Proft: Well so, speaking of that, we did a story in one of my papers about that, talking about the property taxes...Lake County I think has the...is the county...22nd or 23rd ranked county in the NATION in terms of terms of highest property taxes. So you're talking about 4 and 5% of home value up there, HUGE issue. And in Antioch, we compared a couple of house on Cross Lake, one on the Wisconsin side, one on the Illinois side, just about five piers apart. And the BIGGER house on the Wisconsin side had a tax bill, a property tax bill, that was about half of the smaller house on the Wisconsin (sic, meant Illinois) side, and this in part is a way to just sort of crystallize and tell the story about property taxation in Illinois. And I wonder, where you come down on what we should do about the highest property taxes in the nation.
Jackson: Well, you know...and it's something that personally affected me. I owned a home there in Lake Villa, purchased it in 2009 whenever I was first stationed up here. My property taxes that year were $4500. I sold that home in 2015, my taxes were just shy of $9000. And it was...
Proft: That's almost a doubling in six years, right?
Jackson: It did, yeah. It effectively doubled in a six year time frame. And I'm a fan of the Illinois Policy Institute, and the proposals they have made to address property taxes. I would like to see a five-year property tax freeze enacted for (?), to give people's wages time to kind of catch up, but then to work to regress those taxes, they're entirely too much, and they're really hurting Illinois citizens, and we know it's a large part of our out-migration statewide.
Jacobson: So, why are you running for Governor?
Jacobson: Basic question, but I DO want to know!
Jackson: Well yes, it is a basic question, but...
Proft: Ted Kennedy could answer it!
Jacobson: You've had an accomplished career, and you're retired now, and you were a...drill sergeant up here at...?
Jackson: Yeah, well so, we're called a Recruit Division Commander, but in layman's terms, a drill instructor.
Jacobson: Okay, a drill instructor...
Proft: At Great Lakes.
Jacobson: Great Lakes!
Jacobson: So, why do you want to be governor?
Jackson: Well, I want to be governor because I swore an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, for the better part of two decades. And we can see every single day here in Illinois, where our Constitutional rights are being continuously infringed upon...recently we had...there in Deerfield, where they just passed their Township ordinance where you can't possess semi-automatic firearms, pistols and rifles. And it's things like that that drove me into politics. I'm like, this is absolutely uncalled for in a country that I served for 20 years.
Proft: And why the Libertarian Party, as opposed to the other two major parties?
Jackson: Well, I believe in maximizing freedom and minimizing government, and I don't think that anyone can argue that the size of government, with 7K local units of government in our state, is entirely too large. That's exactly what I want to do, I want to shrink big government, and I want to maximize personal individual freedoms, and the Libertarian Party is the one that seeks to do that.
Jacobson: And you need help still getting on the ballot, correct? Tell us about that.
Jackson: Yeah, so ballot access is extremely restricted for third parties and independents, and I have to get 25K minimum good signatures to get onto the ballot. And, it's an uphill climb, but it's something that the Libertarian Party has been successful at in previous election cycles, and it's something we'll be successful at this year as well.
Jacobson: And how many signatures do you have so far?
Proft: It's only just started, he's been allowed to circulate in the last...week, right?
Jackson: Week, yeah. So we just started petition circulation a week ago, and I would venture to say, just guessing here, that we're probably over a thousand right now.
Proft: Yeah. So...so, you get the 50K signatures, so you can withstand a challenge, good signatures, you get on the ballot...is the real goal here 5%? And then, because...5%, for those who don't know, means that the Libertarian Party would then be able to run and have the same access as the Republican and Democrat Party, in terms of signature requirements and time frame and that sort of thing.
Jackson: Absolutely. So, 5% is absolutely a goal that we have and want to achieve, for us to become an established party in the state, make no mistake, making us competitive in 2020 for local elections. And we can see that in places like McLean County, where we've got 8 individuals running for local seats there, because Gary Johnson had broken 5% in that County whenever he ran. And that's something that I think we need to do, and I think where it really benefits Illinois citizens when we do that is that in areas that are heavily gerrymandered, where it's really not feasible for, say, a Republican to run, a candidate inside a Democratic stronghold, Libertarians can be much more competitive inside that area, and this is an area where it would really benefit Illinois citizens to have third parties like the Libertarian Party have that ballot access to do that, and then take some of those seats.
Proft: And...let me suggest that this is your argument, you tell me if I'm right...is that Libertarians...I mean, sometimes people have the perception because of the free market nature of Libertarian economic thought, that...well, that "Libertarians? Well, they just take votes away from Republicans!", and in point of fact, if you look at some Libertarian candidates, they pull...now, it's not big numbers at this point...they pull in from both parties. So, they can pull in some Bernie Sanders types, and then they can pull in some Friedman-ites on the...that would otherwise vote Republican.
Jackson: Absolutely. You know, generally speaking, we do pull about an even number from Republicans and Democrats. And it's not uncommon for me to hear "Well, you're going to steal votes!" Well, I'm not stealing anything, I'm EARNING people's votes by getting my voice out there, and campaigning, and putting the work in to earn those votes. That's what I'm doing, and if a Republican or Democrat loses the election, and they feel it's because of that, I'm gonna tell 'em "Well, you didn't WORK hard enough, and you should have earned those votes the same way that I did."
Jacobson: So, what are you hearing about people's concerns as you travel, you know, through the Counties, and...besides property taxes, I know, is there anything else?
Jackson: Absolutely. The pension system is, of course, a looming issue, when we have between $130B to $200B in unfunded pensions, and again I'm going to sort of revert back to the pragmatic point of view from the Illinois Policy Institute, to incorporate the 401(k) system in the state of Illinois, and those are the two largest issues I run into is just the pensions and property taxes. And third, of course, is jobs, and if we can address those two, the two large issues, then of course we can start working towards bringing jobs back in Illinois as well. So, those are kind of the three big ones.
Proft: Where are you on some of the other contentious, in some respects, emotional issues, but also moral issues. Because, you've got two people who are on the same side on so many issues; sanctuary state, taxpayer funding of abortion...not so much on guns, you know...junk science, I would say, on gender and so...it provides an opportunity, maybe, for social conservatives to feel comfortable voting Libertarian, but that requires that your positions would be different than Rauner's or Pritzker's.
Jackson: Right, well I will say this...just as an individual, I am personally pro-life, whereas the Libertarian Party itself doesn't take a position, and says that the government should not be involved in any regard, I am personally pro-life and that's something that I will espouse very readily. And that's something that differentiates myself between Bruce Rauner and JB Pritzker. Uh...immigration is another big issue, and that's one where I'll probably align more with on Conservatives, because I don't believe that individuals that are here, that are honestly working, that have jobs, many of them are entrepreneurs, I think I've read in the Harvard Business Review that about 15% of immigrants have their own businesses, and they account for about 25% of the entrepreneurial market, and so those people who are here, and they are working and contributing, I would like to see it streamlined so those people that are working and contributing, that we could help ease that process to transition them into naturalized citizens. But those that are violent criminals, those that cannot conform to American ideals and values, I would definitely be an advocate of immediately deporting, especially any violent criminals.
Proft: What about Sanctuary City and Sanctuary State designations?
Jackson: I am...you know, because I'm a Libertarian, I'm not a fan of helping out the Federal government to do THEIR job. It is the Federal Government's job to enforce immigration. It is not the state's job to enforce immigration. My job is to find real viable solutions to issues, very complex issues, that we're facing, and one of the most complex issues that our state is facing is out-migration, and if we have people here that are working, and they're willing to work, I would much rather find a more fiscally and morally responsible approach to help naturalize those people that WANT to be American citizens and uphold those values.
Proft: Well, you can't have it both ways. You can't say on the one hand, there's a naturalization issue and that's a Federal policy issue and I want to get involved in that, but when it comes to Federal immigration law enforcement, I don't want to get involved, because that's a Federal issue. So if you want to be involved as an advocate, you have to be willing to weigh in on the range of issues. So the question is, if you were Governor, and it got to your desk, would you repeal Sanctuary State or would you veto that legislation?
Jackson: Umm...that would be a decision that I would have to come to with my policy team, to really find out whether or not that is something that is a moral...morally responsible thing to do, is it fiscally responsible? Because immigrants ARE providing a tremendous amount of revenue to our state. They do help to lower costs in a variety of areas. They are paying, when they rent places, into property taxes. So, in all honesty, that could potentially hurt our state, and so that's something that we have to take a very very close look at, and it's not something that I would just jump to and make a decision on.
Jacobson: On a lighter note, besides your parents giving you the name "Kash"...is it a family name?
Jackson: No, it's actually a chosen name. So it's Grayson Kash Jackson, and I actually went through a formal name change about a year ago, and I did so because I was raised by maternal grandparents, I was not raised by the paternal side of my family. And I wanted to pay tribute to both sides of my family, so I chose the name Grayson Kash Jackson.
Proft: Interesting. And then you've got the AG candidate, on the Libertarian slate...named Bubba. So you got Bubba and Kash, which sounds like a buddy cop film.
Jackson: "Bubba and Kash", yep!
Jacobson: And then also too, in the governor's race, they can say "They may have millions, but we have the Kash!"
Jackson: "But we have the Kash!", right!
Jacobson: Get it?
Proft: No, I don't get it. Right, so how many hundreds of millions of dollars of your own money are you going to put into this race? (Jacobson: Yeah!)
Jackson: Well, you know I think I still have $5 in change in my truck right now, (both laugh) but I'm probably gonna have to use that on tolls on the way back home.
Proft: Mmm...what about that? What about, you know, as a candidate, even if they're, you know, there are more modest and attainable goals, and there's nothing wrong with that, thinking long-term about the party, I wish REPUBLICANS would do the same thing in this state but they don't, but what about getting your message out and maximize your opportunity with the prospect of two candidates that are going to slug it out with hundreds of millions of dollars, and both probably end up not being particularly popular among the general electorate?
Jackson: Right, well you know what? I was really impressed with Jeanne Ives' campaign, the fact that they ran such a strong grassroots effort, I think they spent on average $12 per vote, as opposed to Bruce Rauner's $250 per vote, which just goes to show you that money doesn't always equate to success. She was very very successful in that campaign, and that's something we want to seek to duplicate in our campaign.
Jacobson: All right.
Proft: All right.
Jacobson: Now, where can people learn more information about you?
Jackson: They can go to Kash2018.com, Kash with a K, and they can also...I'm on Facebook, I'm on Twitter, I'm on Instagram, so if you just search Kash Jackson, Kash with a K, it's not gonna be too hard to find me.
Jacobson: "Kash...Kash Jackson!"
Proft: Yeah, you gotta just gotta do some fun videos, just with the circus name, get Carl Weathers to endorse you, or "Action Jackson" to endorse Kash Jackson, something to make this indelible. Kash Jackson, Libertarian candidate for governor. You can follow him on Twitter at Kash, with a K, @KashJackson2018, you just heard the website. Kash, thanks so much for joining us, appreciate it.
Jackson: Thank you guys for having me on!