When voters in northwestern Illinois go to the polls in November, there may be a third name on the ballot for Congress. Galena real-estate broker Bill Fawell has announced he's running for the 17th District seat now held by East Moline Democrat Cheri Bustos.
Running as a member of the Constitution Party, Fawell says all of our problems these days are caused by the federal government, and the only solution is for the people to take back control.
"Originally I wanted to get candidates to embrace it, but everybody's afraid of it because it's new and different” Fawell said. “Everyone is locked into our systemic failing system. Then I realized I would have to go out and run because it's a message that resonates immediately with people.
“When I talk to people about what's wrong with the government, I say, 'You know what, the problem is: We have a government that rules the people.' And everyone says, 'Yeah, that's exactly right.'"
When Fawell’s real estate business was damaged by the recession, he decided to get involved. He founded the Super PAC Elect a New Congress and wrote a book, The New American Revolution: the Constitutional Overthrow of the US Government. He's preparing to publish a follow-up, The Science of Liberty - American Reformation and Renaissance.
As a third-party candidate, Fawell will have to gather 14,000 signatures by early June to get on the ballot. As members of established political parties, Republican challenger Bobby Schilling and Bustos had to collect fewer than 1,000 signatures to get on the ballot for the 17th District elections.
To become an established party under state statutes, a party candidate would have to receive more than five percent of the total vote in the district in the last election. The Constitution Party is not an established party in the 17th District.
"Ideally you could get 2,000 citizens that say 'You know what, I'm tired of what's going on in America and I really want things to change,'” Fawell said. “If you had 2,000 people and each one gets 10 signatures, which is very easy to do, bang you're there."
He knows it'll be difficult, but thinks once people hear his message, they'll join in.
Fawell’s uncle, Harris Fawell, was a Republican Congressman for the Illinois 13th District from 1985 to 1999.
Fawell said he believes the executive branch has grown too powerful. "America is a nation ruled by its government, whereas our Constitution is written so that the people rule over that government," he said.
Mr. Fawell also said he'd like to see a "classical gold standard" to be regulated by a "public central bank" instead of the Federal Reserve. A gold standard would base the value of currency on a fixed quantity of gold.
The United States used a form of the gold standard from 1879 to 1933 and controlled the price of gold until 1971.