Jesse Jackson Jr.'s Opponent Speaks

Last week, Ward Room was able to locate one of the candidates in the 2nd Congressional District: Brian Woodworth, the Republican running against Jesse Jackson Jr., who was last seen on the House floor on June 8th. There is speculation that Jackson did not reveal he was being “treated for exhaustion” until Monday because that was a deadline for an independent to enter the race. As it stands, Jackson will only have to face Woodworth, an associate professor in the Department of Social Work and Criminal Justice at Olivet Nazarene University in Kankakee.

Q: Where are you right now?
A: I'm at home, in Bourbonnais.

Q: Good. So we know where one of the candidates is. So, what's your reaction to the Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act?
A: There are provisions within the Affordable Care Act that I support. I like the idea that kids can stay on their parents' insurance policy until they're 26. I like the idea that you can't deny someone for a pre-existing condition. The number one problem I have with it is the individual mandate that if you, quote, can afford insurance, then you should buy it. Most people don't turn down health insurance when they have the ability to afford it. What it's really targeting is that window of people who make just enough money that they're going to be told they have to buy it, and yet they're still struggling to make ends meet. This law is not going to impose a penalty of $795 by 2015. As Justice Roberts said, this is a tax, and this is a tax that people who are really struggling can't afford to take on.

Q: Speaker Boehner says that he's going to bring up a vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Would you vote in favor of a full repeal?
A: I would vote in favor of a repeal as long as we also have something in the works to replace it with.

Q: I wanted to ask you also about another Supreme Court decision which became an issue in the Democratic Primary in your district, which was McDonald v. Chicago, that overturned Chicago's handgun ordinance? Were you in favor of that?

A: Yes. I'm a very strong supporter of our Second Amendment rights, and not just restricted to long guns. I think people have a right to own a handgun as well. That's not to say if someone is a violent felon that he should have access. I'm for those types of restrictions, but to say that someone can't have a handgun because he may a nonviolent misdemeanor, I don't support that.

Q: Are you in favor of a third airport in your district?
A: I'm not. I don't think we have the business or manufacturing that needs it. Once we start getting the manufacturing base here, they can utilize Gary International, and when the point comes when Gary is overwhelmed with cargo flights, then we can revisit the idea of a third airport here.

Q: I think it's fair to ask your reaction to your opponent disappearing and not telling anyone for two weeks.
A: And here we are still going on to Week 3 where we still don't know where he is. The only information I have is the same information everybody else has. Frankly, I personally believe that you would have an obligation to report. If I didn't show up for work for 15 days, there's a good chance that when I did try to make a call in, somebody's going to say, "Yeah, we thought you were done. We went ahead and replaced you." So I think he had an obligation to report whatever he's going through earlier. Otherwise, if he's really being medically treated, just to keep him and his family in our thoughts and prayers.

Q: Do you have any notion as to whether that's the real reason he's disappeared? Some people say it's because of the Nayak scandal.
A: There's a lot of those theories out there. Let's see, the Nayak scandal. He's got all the money he needs and he's run to another country. I even heard, and this is not me and I'm not supporting this, but I even heard one person say he's run off with another girlfriend. You know what, I don't even want to get into any of that speculation. I know when he started, he did do good things for the district. He did get money in to help them out, but it's just been the wrong focus, and I think now he's sort of lost his way.

Q: Have you ever been treated for exhaustion?
A: Not for exhaustion, no. I've had other ailments, but not exhaustion.

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