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Independent Bill Fraser Says He Will Return Power to the People in Illinois

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The Illinois 8th congressional district, covering the western portions of Chicago, may become one of the more unique races in 2016.

U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth is challenging incumbent U.S. Senator Mark Kirk, leaving the 8th district seat open. The district has been represented by two Republicans and two Democrats over the last dozen years. Voters went with Obama in the last two presidential elections, but with no candidate benefiting from incumbency, there could be a surprise winner.

One potential surprise comes from independent Bill Fraser. A high school teacher in Schaumburg, Fraser is running on a uniquely succinct platform. Promising to serve only a single term in the U.S. House, Fraser will not reveal his own political positions because, as far as his service as a congressman is concerned, they are irrelevant. Fraser pledges to hold referenda in the district on major legislation and cast his congressional ballot according to the results.

In an exclusive interview for IVN, Fraser explains that the point of his campaign is to return politics to the people.

I want to base my operations in the 8th district and fly to Washington to vote the way the majority of my constituents vote regardless of the outcome.
Bill Fraser, independent candidate for Congress

“I want to base my operations in the 8th district and fly to Washington to vote the way the majority of my constituents vote regardless of the outcome,” he explained.

Although Fraser does not plan to hold his referendum and fly back to Illinois for every single resolution that appears in the House, he asserts he will only vote for major items.

“The Patriot Act and health care type stuff will all be decided by the district,” he said.

Fraser’s platform is a novel approach that aims to eliminate the influence of lobbyists and big party bosses. In a campaign website that is correspondingly concise, Fraser appears in short YouTube videos humorously skewering Republicans and Democrats as literal clowns.

While the videos are not professionally produced and perhaps a little low-brow, they are intended to speak to voters who are rankled by the current state of politics.

Although the 8th district voted twice for Obama and is currently represented by the outgoing Democrat Duckworth, Fraser believes this is the optimal place for his type of campaign.

“The district goes back and forth on its ideology,” Fraser explains, noting that prior to Duckworth, the district was represented by Republicans Joe Walsh and Phil Crane and Democrat Melissa Bean since 2004. “Most people in the district are probably more independent” than partisan, Fraser argues, “they’re more down the middle.”

As with most outside-the-paradigm campaigns, Fraser is likely to face impediments to getting on the November ballot.

“The only obstacle in a congressional race is [getting] signatures,” he remarked.

Fraser will need to collect at least 7,705 signatures compared to the few hundred needed for the major parties. When his campaign can begin collecting signatures in March, he is confident he can reach the mark.

“We should be able to get 20,000 signatures,” he said.

Though the seat is open, there are no declared big name candidates except for a state senator, Martin Noland, on the Democratic side. So, there could be an opening for independent Bill Fraser to leave his mark on the race.

“People are fed up,” he says. “This is their time to stand up and make a change.”

Photo Credit: Andrea Izzotti / shutterstock.com

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72 comments
PaulLillebo
PaulLillebo

Not the best idea I've heard. We have professional representatives for a reason: they're supposed to spend time getting acquainted with the bills, and we pay for staff that do research for them. You can't expect the voters in the district to do that, and therefore they'll be voting on bills where they're not familiar with either the issue or the specifics of the bill. And they're certainly not aware of the evidence gathered at subcommittee hearings. Mr. Fraser apparently doesn't understand what it means to be a representative - it doesn't mean messenger boy.

Vote for Fraser
Vote for Fraser

@PaulLillebo Hi Paul. We've addressed this concern a few times, as seen in previous comments. You're exactly right, staffers are paid to do research. One major task Bill's staff will be responsible for is to make sure the constituency understands what they are voting on. We don't expect the voters to read through hundreds of pages of legislation and successfully comprehend what they've read.

PaulLillebo
PaulLillebo

@Vote for Fraser @PaulLillebo Here's what would happen in real politics in Mr.Fraser's district in the unlikely event that he should win:

Only a small percentage of the voters will respond to his poll on any given bill. Knowing this, the effective political organizations in the district (mainly the Rep and Dem parties) will organize their members to capture Mr.Fraser's vote. The one that is most effective will thereby control Mr.Fraser, making him effectively a member of their voting block. 

samintherockingchair
samintherockingchair

@PaulLillebo @Vote for Fraser So, it looks like the voters of that district do go back and forth between R and D reps.  


If Paul's scenario plays out that way, the R's and D's would be forced to dump huge amounts of money and resources into that district to try to capture Mr. Fraser's vote each time he polled the district.  If that district is split down the middle, the independent voters would be the swing and have all of the power!!  Sign me up!!

Steve C Wixson
Steve C Wixson

Maybe the voters should do a better job of whom they put into office!

John Mundt
John Mundt

it would be nice to see a party that cares about the people and not conservative or liberal donors. i am a independant. i support neither party, or should i say the one washington party.

Roger West
Roger West

No member of congress or the senate should be allowed to serve more than 2 terms PERIOD!

David Belveal
David Belveal

We the people created Congress to represent us not "junior & senior" Congress. Term limits across the board is not the complete answer but it is a start!

Chuck Hoffert
Chuck Hoffert

Time will tell...but he is right about one thing, the people are fed up. Its sad that we the people keep getting fed the same old horses**t time and time again. I do not believe that this is what our founding fathers had in mind for this great country. To have the American dream stolen from you should be a crime, in and of itself. The people responsible for this should be rooted out and imprisoned. Will the American legal justice system allow this to happen ?

Gary Hurd
Gary Hurd

I think this is great. Wish all politician would follow suit. He would return this government back to its original founding fathers intent,... representation by the people and for those people not to become professional politicians.

Jona Henry
Jona Henry

I like that plan/ consult the people and vote for them

Vote for Fraser: Bill Fraser for Congress
Vote for Fraser: Bill Fraser for Congress

That's a very, very common misconception. Members of Congress need to serve a minimum of five years in order to receive a pension. If Bill only serves one term, he would not be eligible.

Terry Mingus
Terry Mingus

unless voter opinion is taken into account as most important after safety... how is what we have representative?

Terry Mingus
Terry Mingus

we need to change that and a senior cngressman should be someone about to leave because they've been in for 3 terms :P

Deb Cravens
Deb Cravens

Doesnt matter how many terms, he'll still be paid for life.

Sammie Schiff
Sammie Schiff

This guy is pledging to do what every member of the senate and congress is SUPPOSED to do. What the constituents want doesn't matter anymore. If the lobbyist were outlawed, maybe what the people want would be important.

James Woodard
James Woodard

Hope - hope - hope. Maybe a change. But I doubt it.

Mike Chial
Mike Chial

My sincere best wishes to you in that effort.

Mike Chial
Mike Chial

Only an independent would be such a heretic as to seek constituent opinion. Sounds good and it indeed might be, but the issue hinges on how well (or poorly) informed those voters are. The problem with mob rule is the mob.

Leroy Volker
Leroy Volker

Wishing all of congress treated their constituents this way.

Jeff Marston
Jeff Marston

I think he's going to find that more and more people want him to use his technique on more and more issues--not just the "big" ones.  It's amazing how many "special interest issues" there are.

Wanda Pease
Wanda Pease

Like Pete Defazio. Warm, friendly man with a sense of humor and thou rough understanding of how Congress works, and is supposed to work for the benefit of the American people. All of them.

Ben Hardin
Ben Hardin

I don't believe in limiting the time a good Congressperson can serve. When we find honest capable Representatives we should keep them rather than run the risk of electing some who are easily corrupted. As for the power of junior congresspersons I'd like to see the committee system revamped in a way that might allow them to have just a little more but not much more power. I believe this condition often would be met by what I envisage in my January 6 posting on the FB page Electoral Reform for a More Favorable Congress.

Marty Wolff
Marty Wolff

Congress should have two-term limits.

Kevin C. Smith
Kevin C. Smith

My first thought is that anyone that knows the plural of referendum is referenda is worth my vote.

Richard Phillips
Richard Phillips

Representative government no longer exists when it serves only those with money

Wanda Pease
Wanda Pease

One two year term as a junior Congressman? He will barely know where the bathrooms are. The power of a Junior Congressman is minimal.

Stella Portwood
Stella Portwood

We need more like this guy! someone to listen to the people

Vote for Fraser: Bill Fraser for Congress
Vote for Fraser: Bill Fraser for Congress

That's a very, very common misconception. Members of Congress need to serve a minimum of five years in order to receive a pension. If Bill only serves one term, he would not be eligible.

Thomas Dennis
Thomas Dennis

Then he gets a lifetime pension for only 1 term , nice.

Marge Miller
Marge Miller

Some people can stay for one term, others stay longer

Dennis Thomas
Dennis Thomas

That's the honorable goal, certainly. True, sometimes their votes don't seem to match the party platform. We expect that this is due to campaign contributions... How do you sustainable campaign contributions when your electorate doesn't agree with a corporate agenda...?

Ben Hardin
Ben Hardin

If a candidate in my district campaigned on the promise to abide 100 percent with the majority of constituents according to referenda on major issues I would not vote for him/her. If he, in the interest of serving his constituents best, at least occasionally deviated from such practice, then I might vote for him.

Vote for Fraser: Bill Fraser for Congress
Vote for Fraser: Bill Fraser for Congress

One of the issues we're out to combat is hidden agendas... time and time again, a rep is elected for their stance on issues X, Y, and Z, and at some point those stances change. Instead of electing a person for their own personal stances on issues, which could change (or have just been hidden all along), a rep could be elected to truthfully represent the constituency and vote the way they want him/her to every time. The elected official *should* know how the majority stands.

Dennis Thomas
Dennis Thomas

It's surprising that an elected representative wouldn't know how his majority constituency feels about "major legislation." With districting done the way it is, would he go to the districts where he lost the popular vote because these votes may be a vast majority of votes cast and the outcome is going to be very different from the vote of those districts that allowed his win?

Vote for Fraser: Bill Fraser for Congress
Vote for Fraser: Bill Fraser for Congress

Hi Dennis! If elected, Bill's staff will make it a priority to ensure that the constituency understands exactly what they're voting on. We don't expect the district to read through hundreds of pages of legislation.

John Raudenbush
John Raudenbush

Vote for Fraser: Bill Fraser for Congress Amen to that.

Vote for Fraser: Bill Fraser for Congress
Vote for Fraser: Bill Fraser for Congress

Much appreciated! We have received a lot of support similar to yours! A lot of people who live outside the district wish there was some type of movement similar to what we're doing in IL-08 and have started following the campaign on social media to see how it works out. Independent Voter posted an image two days ago with a shocking statistic: 79% of voters believe most members of Congress listen to party leaders instead of the voters they represent. That's HORRIBLE! But we're here to change that.