Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady has been well ahead of Gov. Pat Quinn in the polls for some time now. Despite an incredibly close Republican primary, the anti-incumbent attitude in Illinois has made Brady the favorite. Brady remains relatively unknown in Chicago and Cook County, and has a lot of support downstate--but do the people of Illinois really know what he is about?
Last week, Brady addressed a group of tea partiers in Will County, telling them "It's time to return Illinois and America to John Wayne's America." One commenter on the Capitol Fax blog responded to the sentiment:
- Before the Civil Rights Movement
- Before women had the right to vote
- Before social security and Medicare
Senator Brady, you're off to a great start.
Over the top? Maybe. But Brady's positions on social issues are as conservative as it gets. At the same tea party event last weekend, he implied that the Democrats winning in November could make America not "worth coming back to."
"There are men and women serving our country, putting themselves in harm's way to protect this country's liberty and freedom," Brady told the group. "We have a choice to make. Are we willing to fight through November to make sure they have a country worth coming back to?"
Brady stressed tax cuts, less regulation and less litigation at the tea party event, but has yet to explain how his fiscal plans could fix the state's crippling $13 billion deficit. His budget plan has been criticized by members of his own party, but Quinn's tax hike proposal is wildly unpopular among voters.
We rounded up some of Brady's most extreme positions. Check them out, and let us know what you think.
Brady is staunchly pro-life, even opposing abortion in cases of rape and incest. He believes that minors should have to notify their parents before aborting, and co-sponsored a bill mandating that all women have an ultrasound before they have an abortion.
In 2006, Brady introduced a Constitutional amendment that would have banned gay marriage and civil unions. He also sponsored a bill that would have allowed some employers to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.
Brady voted against raising the minimum wage. He has also described a minimum wage as "governmental intrusion," and said, “I think supply and demand in the marketplace determines the rate of minimum wage."
Two days after emerging as the leader in the Republican party's primary for governor, Brady introduced a bill to the state legislature to re-legalize mass gas-chamber euthanasia of pets. The practice had been abandoned after a years-long fight by animal activist groups.
In another show of faith in the invisible hand, Brady has suggested that the market should dictate pay rates, and that the government shouldn't legislate that men and women be paid equally.
As a state senator, the Republican candidate also voted against a bill that would require insurance companies to cover contraceptive drugs and devices. The bill explicitly stated that there were no requirements on abortion coverage.
After winning the Republican nomination for governor, Brady voted against a bill that would require all children under the age of 18 on a motorcycle to wear a helmet.
Brady voted against funding for afterschool programs, grants to improve failing schools, reading improvement programs and help for teachers who work at low-income schools.
Just this year, Brady introduced SB 3447 to the Illinois Senate. This bill would allow religious organizations, and secular non-profits that work with religious institutions, to discriminate in their hiring practices against any employee. That means that a nonprofit that worked with a church could use religious discrimination in hiring its janitors or secretaries.
Brady voted against the Stem Cell Research and Human Cloning Prohibition Act in 2007, a law that allows for research using human stem cells but specifically forbids the purchase of embryonic or fetal stem cells.