Kash Jackson hopes voters can ignore his past and vote Libertarian

The Illinois Libertarian Party’s gubernatorial candidate says past allegations of wife-beating and threatening a family-court judge have no bearing on who he is today.

Grayson “Kash” Jackson says he wants to be recognized as an honorable Navy veteran, a former drill instructor and a strict Constructionist-turned-dad’s rights activist who did not know his own father for much of his life.

He said growing up in Shreveport, La., raised by his grandparents, gave him the discipline to work for himself and the determination to fight for his own family.

“After four years of expensive litigation fighting to be the father of my own children, I was led down the rabbit hole of seeing how many people were being afflicted by the family law court system,” Jackson said. “I know I’m capable of being more than an activist.”

His fiance, Marina Bella Phoenix, said that her first impression of him has lasted throughout their four-year relationship.

“What first intrigued me about him was his Southern charm,” she said. “He’s an outgoing ‘people person,’ always making people laugh and feel comfortable. He’s always the funny one in a group.”

Despite claims of personal growth from Jackson and his loved ones, Illinois voters say they worry that not much has actually changed.

“I can’t believe he’s on the ballot still after everything I’ve read about him,” said DePaul sophomore Emily Burnett.

But Jackson’s supporters say they believe he’s turned his life around.

“I met Kash in 2016, and I wasn’t in a great place,” said Ira Scott, member of Jackson’s parental rights group named Restoring Freedom, whose daughter was kidnapped by Scott’s girlfriend two years ago. “What he did for me was restore my faith that we can be a voice for the voiceless. He immediately struck me as the real deal.”

Jackson says he is a Libertarian who believes Americans do not need legislation that infringes on people’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

“We can choose to live how we want to and not ask the government to pass legislation forcing that [strictly two-party] belief system on the rest of society,” he said.

Core Libertarian ideas include natural rights, government by the people, and the Non-Aggression Principle, which says that everyone has a God-given right to live one’s life freely and according to personal values until violence is initiated, according to Jackson’s website.

If elected governor, he said he hopes to show people what his philosophy looks like and how a hyper-partisan society, which forces Americans to choose “red team or blue team,” is not the best way to run a government.

“People have been conditioned to believe their voice doesn’t matter,” Jackson said. “They’ve been led to believe one vote doesn’t matter, and as a result, we see tons of people who did not come out to vote, because they feel disenfranchised and don’t feel represented. Many of them have a self-fulfilling prophecy: ‘A third party candidate, though great in theory, can’t happen. If I vote for Kash, that’s really a vote for JB or for Rauner.’ Overcoming that is really, I think, the hardest thing.”

His platforms include balancing the Illinois budget and cutting wasteful spending, reducing excessive state regulations, reforming the criminal justice system, finding common ground on abortion while recognizing both the right to life and bodily autonomy, and reforming family court.

“Once people hear and see my message, they think, ‘Wow, that’s common sense! We haven’t heard that before!’ but still, they have to overcome their own fears and ingrained way of thinking,” he said. “It requires people to be brave, and step out on their own, and be willing to challenge the status quo. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for so many people letting go of what they’d held onto for so long and taking a chance on me.”