COLUMN: Abram: A local vote towards national reform

By Emma Claire Sohn

If you’ve even glanced at the Opinions page this week, you’ve been bombarded by a slew of arguments over the Green Party. Illinois has been looking especially Green lately. Our pre-occupation with these progressives has a lot to do with the fact that their first time, state-wide gubernatorial candidate, Rich Whitney, has racked up a substantial 14 percent of the predicted vote, providing relief to Illinois voters fed up with the two corrupt, mainstream finger-pointing campaigns.

The Green Party questions our two-party political system, thus commenting on the role of politicians in the United States. It is outlandish to suggest that a candidate from either side of a dual partisan system can accurately represent the inevitable diversity of their constituents.

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In the 103rd district, Tom Abram is proving this common pretense. I sat down to speak with him on Monday to talk about his decision to run on the Green ticket.

Abram graduated from the University of Illinois in 2005 with an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering and is currently employed by the University evaluating energy efficiency in small businesses. Abram became involved in politics after considering the state of funding for education in Illinois, which he felt was not adequately addressed by the current representative. “I was just turned off by the choices,” he said on why he decided to run in the first place. “I couldn’t just sit by and watch.”

Democracy as a governing system is based on the intent of representing the broad view of a society. If that is true, Tom Abram should be our next representative in state legislature.

The 103rd district is heavily concentrated with student and academic voters, and Tom Abram embodies this unique demographic. As both a graduate and an employee of the University, he is representative of the progressive ideals that mill in the University setting.

Abram cites his primary concerns in Tuesday’s election as reforming energy use and funding in education. These should also be the premier concerns of students at the University. The state of education in and at Illinois has an immediate effect on the residents of Champaign County, while energy concerns will dictate how we live the rest of our lives.

We can not continue to accept the mild at best, (and in many cases non-existent) environmental policy of our current representatives, nor can we tolerate their perpetual failure to reform the way Illinois funds educational institutions, including the University. Our generation will be responsible for applying the knowledge we’ve acquired in school to sustain natural resources and develop alternate energy sources. Tom Abram’s campaign for Illinois State Legislature is centered around this fact.

The way the current political spectrum falls in the United States is unacceptable. The Democrats and Republicans have melded together into a tangled mess of centrality accented by some truly frightening Right-Wing extremists. Both sides are easily swayed by the corporate dollar, to the detriment of essential policy reform.

Change begins locally – a vote for Tom Abram and other area Greens is a realistic investment in both sustainability and the political future of the United States. The advancement of the Green Party forces both Democrats and Republicans to consider more progressive ideals while substantiating the need for a multiple party political system. A Green vote on Tuesday will be a step towards the necessary change our nation needs to face in the immediate future.