Thursday, October 13, 2005

Scheurer to Run in 8th District

‘Progressive Conservative’ Independent Candidate Takes on Bean, Republicans

Special to Lakeland Media

While Republican Party members fight it out among themselves to determine who will challenge Melissa Bean (D-Barrington) for the 8th Congressional District seat she wrested away from Republican Phil Crane in the last election, independent candidate William Scheurer is mounting his own challenge.

Scheurer, who refers to himself as a “progressive conservative,” has a platform that defies traditional categorization, blending traditional conservative fiscal restraint with “liberal” social consciousness.

“My platform covers four issues,” Scheurer said. “They are a balanced budget, ‘smart’ security, energy independence and universal health insurance.” Scheurer said he planned to create a third party, tentatively to be called Common Ground. He defined the principles of the emergent party as progressive in its values and goals but conservative in its means and methods.

“We believe the government has a role to play in meeting human needs,” Scheurer said. ”We also believe that people who have more have a responsibility to help people who have less. We believe in progressive taxation.”

On the “conservative” side of the ledger, Scheurer and his party favor a balanced budget. “I think government should do what it can do well,” Scheurer said. “We’re calling for bringing real management principles to government, and carefully selecting what we choose to get government involved in.” His party also would favor limited government, and the principle that “markets do better than government at meeting most human needs.”

Scheurer, who has had two children in the military, including one now serving in Baghdad, is a member of the Military Families Speak Out, an anti-war group. His proposed policy of “smart security” calls for “a shift away from a focus on war and aggression and towards peaceful diplomacy with military preparedness to deal with the risks we now face.”

Scheurer notes that the policies followed in the past few years have “eroded good will in the world, engendered enmity, alienated our traditional allies and agitated people who were opposed to our policies to begin with.” He asked, “At the human level, do you feel safer now (than in the days after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks)?”

In the quest for a balanced budget, Scheurer sees the war involvement as a further drain. “I’m in favor of restoring tax equity,” he said. “We need to look at both spending and revenue.” He believes that by refocusing on foreign affairs the country can “be safer and have a bounty left over.”

Scheurer sees the war as being “all about oil dependency, not about freedom.” He pointed out that there are genocidal actions occurring in the Sudan, Uganda and Rwanda, to name a few places. “There are tyrannies, dictatorships, but we don’t send troops in there,” he said. “The war is about oil,” Scheurer said. “Everything else is smoke and mirrors.”

To satisfy the need for energy, Scheurer would redirect the same kind of effort that marked space exploration into seeking sources of clean, renewable energy.

The final plank in Scheurer’s platform is health care. He would favor a system of mandatory health insurance, patterned after auto insurance laws. “We lag behind other (developed) countries in health care,” he said.

At, Scheurer’s personal profile notes, “One of the things that meant the most to him as a businessman was that he always provided full medical coverage for his co-workers, a rare achievement for a small business today.”

Scheurer opposes privatization of Social Security. “We should not submit our collective security to the ups and downs of Wall Street,” he said. “ENRON should have cured us of that.” He would have Social Security administered progressively, “to make sure that people who struggled all their lives can still live in dignity.” He suggested that those who were well off should not require the same benefits as those who had substantially less.

Scheurer, who considers himself a life-oriented person, opposes abortion, capital punishment and war. Regarding abortion, he would allow for “extenuating circumstances” such as rape, incest and the life and health of the woman. “We’d have to explore this and set parameters,” he said. “But 95 percent of the voices in the discussion should be women, and the rest should be jurists and sociologists.”

Supported by the “GLBT” faction (gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transsexual), Scheurer said civil unions for gays represent “equal protection for every citizen.” He said defining spiritual marriage is “an issue for churches.”

Scheurer was born on Dec. 5, 1950. He has a B.A, in religious studies and a J.D. in law. Scheurer has been married for 35 years to Randi, an artist and homemaker, with a degree in fine arts. The couple has lived in Lake County for 27 years, raising four children (ages 24-31) in their Lindenhurst home.

Two of their children have served in the military (Army and Marines), including tours in Okinawa, Kuwait and Iraq. Their son is now with the National Guard, stationed in Baghdad. They are members of Military Families Speak Out.

Bill has been active in several non-profit groups, such as P.A.D.S. (a local homeless shelter), Human Rights First and others. Scheurer has degrees in religious studies and law, and has worked as a lay minister, an attorney, and a small business owner. He now works as a writer, publisher, and peace activist.

A campaign web site will soon be posted. Until then, his platform can be found at Policies he favors are also explained at He can be e-mailed at


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