Joshua Flynn, 33, is running for the 78th Illinois House seat, which Rep. Camille Y. Lilly currently holds. | Provided

This is part of a series called West Side People, which are interviews designed to introduce our readers to their fellow West Siders. 

Joshua Flynn, 33, is currently running against state Rep. Camille Y. Lilly (78th) as a Libertarian. Flynn, a lifelong Austin resident, is the Libertarian Party’s 29th Ward committeeman, as well as the party’s 7th Congressional District’s state central committeeman.  

He spoke about the rarity of being a Black Libertarian in Chicago, answered some questions about the party’s philosophy and talked about what he’d do if elected to Lilly’s seat in November.

On the Libertarian Party  

“We don’t believe in infringement on people. We believe in a person having their own freedoms. If a person wants to do drugs, as long as that person isn’t hurting anyone else, they choose to do that. They are consenting adults. That’s their own beliefs. We don’t believe telling people what to do, as long as they aren’t harming anyone or committing property crime or violent crimes.”  

So you don’t believe in, say, universal healthcare, which can’t be provided by any other entity but the government? 

“No, we believe in the markets, which can decide a lot better than what government can do. Government controls healthcare and look at where we’re at now … Look at [Illinois House Speaker] Michael Madigan. Government involvement means government corruption.” 

How large is the Libertarian Party? 

“We’re the third largest party in the country, as well as Illinois. Not as big as the Democrats and Republicans, but we’re constantly growing. People are seeking other parties. It’s time for change throughout the country. The Democrats and Republicans have been in charge for so long and behind their leadership there’s been nothing but corruption. 

How many Blacks are in the Libertarian party? 

“It’s not many — not many at all, especially here in Illinois. That’s the reason I’m trying to grow the party here in Cook County. A lot of people didn’t realize it existed until last year, when I had my meetings here in Austin.”

How long have you been a Libertarian? 

“I’ve been a Libertarian for a little over two years. I was a Democrat before, but had to walk away. It wasn’t just the corruption itself, but so much entitlement within the party — the way they rule Cook County. And then the [County Board President] brought in the sugar tax. It was just constantly taxing the people, but not seeing any change in the community. The streets and roads are not doing well, our education system is poorly operated, and economics in our community is poor.”

What’s your campaign platform?  

“My platform is education, economic development and safer streets. I want all schools working stronger in our communities — public charter schools, private schools all working strong to better the education for our kids. I believe in less property taxes, less corporate taxes, so organizations and businesses can come into our community. 

So, you don’t believe that the government should have any role to play at all?

“I believe in some government intervention. I’m not an anarchist. I don’t believe in privatizing the military or privatizing prisons. I believe the government should give businesses loans that they can pay off to help Illinois pay off the debt it has accrued. That, in turn, can help with the pension fund, because we’re so behind with that debt itself.”