Candidates in Their Own Words: Tio Hardiman
An anti-violence activist and former director of the anti-violence group CeaseFire, Tio Hardiman is challenging Governor Pat Quinn for the Democratic ticket in the primary election. Considered a long-shot candidate by some, Hardiman believes his message and policies will resonate with voters better than Quinn.
Under Hardiman's direction, CeaseFire pioneered a violence prevention technique known as violence interruption. Violence interruption is now utilized in countries worldwide.
Hardiman's economic plan, the "20/20" plan, includes a unique idea to create jobs by building and maintaining state-run casinos.
"I plan to take a look around the state and find places to build a few state-owned casinos, which would create jobs. I also plan to attract more businesses to the rural parts of Illinois by [visiting companies] overseas" said Hardiman to WJBD.
Hardiman supports the regulation of the fracking industry as it currently stands, saying that regulations are important to protect the environment.
On the possible closure of the Murray Developmental Center, Hardiman has distanced himself from state democrats by opposing the Center's closure. He visited the Murray Center in February and says Quinn's attempted closure is steeped in corruption.
"The Murray Center is an economic engine for this area, so why would you, as a sitting Governor, even think about a diabolical plot to close the Murray Center? And we'll find out later than Quinn has ties to the [groups trying to close the facility]. Once again, special interests are taking over Springfield starting at the Governor's level" Hardiman said while meeting the Murray Parents Association in February.
Hardiman says that placing a tax on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange could provide income that would allow the state to continue to fund the Murray Center.
Hardiman says he is against Senate Bill 1, the Pension Reform Bill of 2013. Hardiman objects to any form of pension reform that would cut benefits for retirees.
"I would never touch the people's cost of living adjustments. I'm not happy with...the solutions they put forth. Governor Quinn will not be around 30 years from now, in office, to be held accountable for another failed policy. We have to make the right changes with the pension crisis so we can solve this once and for all" said Hardiman.
Hardiman says that public disillusionment with Quinn will work in his favor and that he believes his campaign is a serious contender for the democratic ticket.
Hardiman's detractors have taken issue with his campaign's focus on "class warfare" and Hardiman's previous arrest record. In 2012, Hardiman was arrested for domestic abuse, a charge that was later dropped by his wife. The domestic abuse charge led to him losing his position at CeaseFire. Hardiman denies that he ever physically abused his wife.
His running mate is Chicago-based criminal defense attorney Brunell Donald. The Hardiman/Donald ticket is the first all-black ticket in Illinois' History.
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