A contentious legal battle spurred Grayson “Kash” Jackson’s desire to enter politics, and now the retired Navy veteran is campaigning in hopes of becoming Illinois’ next governor.
Jackson, formerly known as Benjamin Winderweedle, is a Libertarian from Antioch whose key goals if elected include changing the way family court is handled. He will face Republican incumbent Bruce Rauner and Democratic candidate J.B. Pritzker in November’s general election.
“I felt I had the skills, talent and leadership experience from being in the military to really make a difference in the state of Illinois,” Jackson told the Northwest Herald’s editorial board on Friday. “I don’t have special interest groups, lobbyists or political action committees pulling my strings.”
Earlier this year, Jackson was held in contempt of court during a child support fight in Lake County. He said he was ordered to pay almost 50 percent of his income toward his children. Jackson receives retirement payments from his service in the Navy, he said.
“No individual can lose nearly half of their income overnight and continue to be able to pay their bills,” he said. “I offered to do child care full-time and that wasn’t acceptable to the court. ... It baffled me that they would not allow [me] to do child care five days a week instead of paying it to child care facilities.”
He added that when families go through a breakup, he would like both parents enter into the court on equal ground and require judges to justify why a shared 50-50 custody agreement couldn’t be granted.
“I would rather end the adversarial system that pits one parent against another. ... If we can allow for a more co-operative system, I think our families will do much better,” he said.
On criminal justice reform, Jackson said he would look to pardon people incarcerated for marijuana crimes.
“I don’t see the possession, manufacturing and growing of cannabis as a crime,” he said. “If no person or property was ever harmed, then no crime is committed.”
On property taxes, Jackson said he would like to see education costs go down by way of administration consolidation and a potential change to the way schools are funded.
He said on a local level, more education funding could come from a “goods and services” tax on products people buy on a daily basis.
“I believe something we should be discussing is maybe moving toward a consumption and services format. ... in lieu of property taxes, tax more goods and services,” Jackson said. “I am not an economics guy ... but I think that would much more palatable to our communities than being taxed out of our homes.”