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IL Green Party Primary: Q&A With Alan Auguston

Five candidates are seeking the Illinois Green Party nomination to run in the special election to replace Rahm Emanuel in the US House in District 5. There will be a primary on March 3rd for the Green Party, the Democrats and the Republicans. The winners of the three primaries will face off in an April 7 Special Election.

We’ve asked the five candidates on the Green Party primary ballot to tell us a little bit about who they are, what they are running for, and why you should support them. We will post the replies from each as we get them.

Here is Alan Augustson:

Green Party Watch:
Tell us a little bit about who you are.

Alan Augustson: I’ve been a firefighter, a radio announcer, a computer scientist and a United States Marine. My wife and I came to Chicago in 2000 so I could finish my education at the University of Chicago. My goal was the same then as it is now: to do the greatest possible good.

Since then I’ve worked in social science research, policy analysis, public-sector management consulting, and healthcare advocacy. Probably my best work was done in Washington, on-contract to FEMA during the Katrina Catastrophe. Although none of my recommendations were listened to by the Cabinet, at least someone in the hierarchy was pushing for the rights and security of the victims of that tragedy.

GPW: What made you decide to jump into this race? What are the top 2 or 3 issues that you want to bring to the table?

AA: I felt compelled to enter the 2008 race against Rahm Emanuel because, at the time, he was unopposed. No Democratic opposition was surfacing, and not even any Greens were taking him on. This was unacceptable, given his atrocious voting record. Rahm didn’t know and didn’t care about the people of his district — he was too busy grooming himself for the next level.

My top three issues stem from a need to ensure the survival of humankind, as global warming advances and resources continue to deplete. If we want Chicagoland to remain a thriving community, there are three things we must accomplish to start with: we need better, faster and more extensive mass transit. We need real sustainable energy — massive windfarms and solar collectors, plus proper incentives for single-family homeowners to install these on their own homes. And we absolutely have to have universal healthcare. More employers are dumping their coverage every day. If we don’t guarantee healthcare for all, then the entire health sector — the largest non-government employment sector in Illinois — will go down the tubes.

GPW: What differentiates the “Green Party candidate” from the Republicans or Democrats? Why the Green Party?
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Alan Auguston: the Cost of Gas and Peak Oil

Green Party Congressional Candidate Alan Augustson (IL, CD-05) called upon all Presidential and other candidates to back off from promises of lower gasoline prices.

“Cheap gas is over,” said Augustson, who will be seeking to unseat the powerful Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) in November. “Any candidate who promises lower gas prices is making a false promise, plain and simple. It’s a cheap, obvious election gimmick. Don’t fall for it.”

In a communique to a number of online media outlets, Augustson contended that speculators and taxation amount to very little in determining the price of a gallon of gasoline. “Gas is expensive,” he said, “because the oil is running out. And that which remains is harder to find, harder to extract, harder to refine and harder to distribute.”

In fact, he said, gas prices would be even higher still if not for government subsidies.

“Whether you drive an SUV or ride a bike everywhere, you’re paying for gas,” Augustson said. “Your taxes pay for enormous subsidies to the energy industry. Without those subsidies, you’d see gasoline prices similar to what they pay in Europe.”

He speculated that gasoline prices might fall “maybe a quarter or so, just in time for the election. But they’ll snap right back to the upward trend, immediately afterward.”

Augustson’s solution to high gas prices? “Stop using gas. Take public transit if you have it. Get an electric vehicle — not a hybrid. Ride a bike. Walk. Move closer to work. Shop closer to home. Just stop driving. I know that’s not going to be a popular answer, but the truth seldom is.”

Alan Augustson, 44, is an economist, statistician and management consultant living in Chicago. He announced his candidacy for Congress in June of 2007.