Libertarian candidate Green: Fan of limited government

Ask Lex Green about political issues with moral and ethical overtones, and his answer will likely include a statement such as “I don’t believe that the government should be involved.”

“I’m a fan of limited government,” said Green, the Libertarian Party candidate for governor of Illinois.

In an interview with the Catholic Conference of Illinois (CCI), Green said a model of limited government “maximizes freedom for the Catholic Church, for all churches, and for people who don’t attend church.”

“Those freedoms are very important to me,” he continued. “They were put in place by the founding fathers, and I think we should return to that model for our government.”

Green, an electrician from Bloomington making his first run for political office, is one of five candidates for Illinois governor in the Nov. 2 election. In late summer, four of the candidates ? Green, Sen. Bill Brady (Republican), Scott Lee Cohen (Independent), and Rich Whitney (Green) –completed brief questionnaires from CCI and agreed to follow-up interviews.

Incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn, who is running for re-election on the Democratic ticket, declined to take part in either the survey or interview.

The questionnaire asked for the candidates’ support or opposition of five pieces of legislation of interest to Catholics of the state. While Green’s responses were mixed when compared with CCI positions, his political philosophy was consistent.

For example, while he believes that offering women seeking an opportunity to view an ultrasound of their unborn baby is a good idea, he opposes the Ultrasound Opportunity Act that would mandate abortion facilities to do so.

“I feel that government power is something to be distrusted,” said Green, adding “I don’t think that the government mandate is necessarily the way to go.”

Green’s views on the limits of government were most defined in speaking of marriage, and the possible establishment of civil unions for same sex couples in Illinois. While supporting legislation giving same sex couples equal rights under the law, Green opposes any government “intrusion” in marriage, including even the requirement to obtain a marriage license.

“So I would actually prefer to go the other way and repeal parts of Illinois law having to do with who can and cannot get married,” he said.

Asked about the impact of civil union legislation on religious organizations, including in areas of adoption or foster care, Green said the Catholic Church should be able to carry out those programs under its own rules.

“I would be opposed to forcing the church or an adoption agency sponsored by the church from having to do anything that the government tells them to do, basically,” he said.

Green’s philosophy leads him to support offering tuition vouchers to parents wishing to enroll their students in a non-public school, saying he is for “anything that gives us more choice where schools are involved.”

“If we have open enrollment, which would be facilitated through the use of vouchers, then I think we would have much better education, at least for the majority of school districts,” said Green. “And I do think that private schools should be included in those programs.”

While agreeing “life is sacred,” Green opposes the abolition of the death penalty in Illinois. Outlining a series of steps he would insist upon to eliminate “mistakes” in the system, Green said individuals can give up their right to life by committing “particularly heinous crimes.”

On immigration, Green said he is an advocate of “states’ rights.” While he does not agree with all aspects of Arizona’s controversial immigration law,
Green supports any state’s right to pass “whatever laws they see necessary to protect their own citizens, as long as they are fair and do not infringe on people’s rights.”

Green, whose website biography was written by his wife, Karen, told CCI his values came from his family, especially his grandfather, George Johnston, whom he called “a paragon of virtue who lived to serve other people.”

He acknowledged it is “a big leap” to run for governor in his first try for political office. The secretary of the McLean County Libertarian Party, Green said he was looking for an appropriate office to seek and the governor opportunity “fell into my lap.”

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