By Mark Wachtler
March 9, 2016. Urbana, IL. (ONN) The 2016 General Election will be the young Veterans Party’s first organized election ever. The new political party was formed two years ago and has since rocketed to the top of the American opposition and third party politics based on surveys and social media statistics. But will everyday popularity translate into success on Election Day? Chris Aguayo, Veterans Party candidate for US Senate from Illinois, intends to find out.
Chris Aguayo, Veterans Party candidate for US Senate from Illinois.
Taking on the Establishment
32-year-old Chris Aguayo is an Iraq war veteran, a father of two, and the Veterans Party candidate for US Senate from Illinois. He couldn’t have picked a better seat to run for, as Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) is widely considered to be the weakest incumbent Senator up for re-election this year. Their probable Democrat opponent, Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), is just as unpopular.
We sat down with Veterans Party candidate Chris Aguayo after seeing him attend one candidates forum after another. Aguayo is taking this election seriously and he’s already campaigning like a seasoned pro. Whether he’s ringing doorbells in his downstate home of Urbana, attending a motorcycle rally on the Iowa border, or meeting with the South Lakeview Neighborhood Association in Chicago, Chris Aguayo is making a name for himself, and the Veterans Party.
Meet Chris Aguayo
Below is a recap of our interview with US Senate candidate Chris Aguayo:
Mark Wachtler: I noticed you were doing a lot of campaign events like candidates forums. How has your candidacy been received by voters?
Chris Aguayo: I believe it's been received well. I think the people in Illinois are happy to hear from a candidate that isn't part of the establishment and actually listens to what they have to say instead of just talking to them.
Mark Wachtler: Are you getting any help or support from the national or state Veterans Party or are you basically on your own?
Chris Aguayo: We're in a rebuilding period for the State Party. I recently stepped down as State Chair in order to give one hundred percent attention to my campaign. Former Democratic Party Secretary John Monaghan was selected to replace me as the State Chair. I'm getting enough support from National, but for the most part I'm doing it on my own with my campaign team.
Mark Wachtler: Why did you choose the Veterans Party over the other parties or running as an independent?
Chris Aguayo: I chose the Veterans Party because it aligns with my overall political views. I'm a centrist and a Constitutionalist. The VPA is a solution-based Constitution party and it's the fastest growing third party.
Mark Wachtler: How many petition signatures will you need to collect to appear on the ballot in Illinois? How does that compare to the number the Democrat and Republican candidates need to submit?
Chris Aguayo: I need 25,000 signatures in order to appear on the ballot. Realistically, I need 50,000-60,000 signatures to ensure I have enough remaining signatures after the other parties audit my petition. Already established parties like the Democrats and Republicans only need 5,000 signatures to appear on the ballot.
Mark Wachtler: What are your most passionate or important policies or positions?
Chris Aguayo: Defending the people's Constitutional rights, putting an end to Veteran homelessness and suicide, Veterans Affairs reform, job creation, and campaign finance reform.
Mark Wachtler: How do you intend to break the media black-out of independents and third party candidates?
Chris Aguayo: I'm going to keep up the pressure and become a common household name. I think if I can get on enough radio interviews and get a televised interview the media will have to take me seriously. I will actually be filming a few campaign ads in the next couple weeks.
Mark Wachtler: What do you think of your probable opponents like Mark Kirk, Tammy Duckworth and the Libertarian Chris Michel?
Chris Aguayo: Mark Kirk and Tammy Duckworth work for the same party; the Democrats. Both have claimed they protect the Constitution, but their voting records say otherwise. Both have turned their backs on Veterans and have done nothing to end the growing issues within the VA. I read Chris Michel's interview. I think he's a strong candidate, but the people want a true representative of what they believe. They want someone that isn't tied to the establishment parties. The Libertarian Party is just another branch of the Republican Party much like the Tea Party.
On the issues
On his campaign website, Chris Aguayo sums up his candidacy saying, “It is an honor and truly a humbling experience to be running as a candidate to represent you on Capitol Hill. The time is now to remind both parties that the power of the government belongs back in the hands of you the people of this great state and country.”
Suggesting what Aguayo’s priorities will be if elected, the top two issues listed on the candidate’s platform page are job creation and veteran outreach. He also supports a strong national defense, which he says includes securing our nation’s borders. Those issues are quickly followed by his support of the 2nd Amendment, access to higher education, and fiscal responsibility.
The Veterans Party US Senate candidate also supports term limits, campaign finance reform, welfare reform and immigration reform. To be fair, Chris Aguayo doesn’t oppose legal immigration or social services for the poor. Instead, he says they both need to be overhauled and fixed so that the scarce resources available go to those truly in need rather than individuals who are scamming the system.
For more information on US Senate candidate Chris Aguayo, visit his campaign website at ChrisAguayo2016.com or his campaign Facebook Page. For more information on the Veterans Party, visit their website at VeteransPartyOfAmerica.org.
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