Editor’s note: The filing period has passed for individuals interested in getting on the 2016 primary election ballot. However, the call for new candidates never ends, since 2017 will see municipal and other local level elections. ATFC recently spoke with a Republican circulating petitions to run for office in Illinois – here are his words:

Why you should run for office is the basic high school civics lesson – if you do not feel represented, you have to do something about it. If you are disappointed with the operation of your government or the voting record of those you have elected, it is your duty to either run or find someone else to run that shares your values.

One of the first considerations is raising money for the campaign – and that is always a challenge. The important thing to keep in mind is that finding financial support is as much of a group effort as is volunteer support. For example, getting out the vote on election day, for even the smallest political race, is a group effort. So it is with fundraising.

We need better people running for office because one of the most important things missing in Illinois is a clear distinction between Democrats and Republicans. The Republican Party has not made the case for small government. It is not that they have tried and failed – they don’t even seem to know that the possibility exists.

This is also a challenge to the political right. They say they want more efficient and effective government, but too few are willing to stand up and do something themselves.

Many people who are uninterested in politics get the same sense I do – that we have no choice and are just along for the ride on this train. The destination in the hands of those driving the engine.

People need to be aware that is not the case. They have the opportunity, the power and even the responsibility to get up, get involved and take charge.

Too many Americans have lost the concept that we do not exist by the will of the government – the government exists by our will.

Whether you like it or not, this is your government. This is your nation. It does not own you – you own it. If someone is piling up debt, enacting failing policies and making foolish promises, you own it. You can stop it now or suffer the consequences later.