A radiologist from the Chicago suburb of Burr Ridge seeking a seat in the U.S. Senate said he supports dividing the State of Illinois into two new independent states.
Republican Dr. Robert Marshall also said during a recent stop in Effingham he wants to unite all parts of the Illinois Republican Party.
“Ideally, I’d like to see the state divided up in time for the election of 2020, so we can vote for our choice and not have our vote canceled out like it is every election,” said the 76-year-old.
Marshall was a Republican for 30 years before switching and becoming a conservative Democrat after he disagreed with the Iraq War.
“I objected strongly to the Iraq War,” said Marshall. “I’m a Vietnam veteran. The Iraq War to me was the same mistake as Vietnam. So I went to the Democratic party to find some solution to getting out of that war.”
He said he later returned to the Republican party because he liked what then-candidate for U.S. President Donald Trump was saying about how he would handle foreign affairs. He and several others are running against long-serving Democrat Dick Durbin.
Marshall said he has backed Trump 100 percent in all of his actions so far during his presidency and continues to do so in the recent Syrian and Ukrainian affairs.
“He may have made a few mistakes here and there, but in general he’s pointed in the right direction,” said Marshall. “I support President Trump in all of his policies, including his judge (appointments), tax policy and building the wall.”
Marshall unsuccessfully ran for governor against J.B. Pritzker, collecting only 1 percent of the vote. He was one of seven Democrats and he hoped to get the conservative vote. He opposed the progressive income tax and ran in favor of dividing the state into two.
“I’ve been running on this issue of dividing the state since about 2015,” said Marshall. “It’s slowly picking up. It’s starting to get some steam. More and more people are interested in this.”
He said his approach would be to ask the federal court for this change, rather than move the idea through the legislature, as others believe would work. Marshall said the Treaty of the Northwest Territory of 1787 wasn’t adhered to. The southern portion should have always been a separate state, as should the northern portion.
“In the original ordinance of 1787, there was a plan that the northern part of Illinois wasn’t supposed to be with the southern part. The top was supposed to around Route 80,” said Marshall.
The reason it was decided to attach these two parts was due to the need for water transportation or lake access. But, today’s shipping is also done by rail, truck or plane, so that reasoning is obsolete today.
He also suggests the state could be divided by making Chicago a state of its own.
“I think our state should be divided up as the original plan was – somewhere along Route 80 – or at the county lines,” said Marshall. “We’d have a whole new state, a new Constitution, new laws, a new governor and two Senators who would represent downstate.”
Marshall said he would move out of the Chicago area if the split happened.
“The overwhelming majority of people I talk to from downstate feel that they are not being represented; their money is being taken away and sent someplace else; and the whole state is being run by a handful of people from Chicago.”
He said tax money isn’t the only issue. There are other social issues and political philosophies that make people feel discriminated against.
“There are other things that you can’t put a dollar sign on, such as abortions and gun ownership,” said Marshall.
Marshall is in favor of taking money from the military budget to build the wall. He said while the United States needs some immigration, the country should be able to regulate who comes in.
“We need strong borders,” said Marshall. “You have control who comes into your house. Why can’t we do that with our country? Like (President Trump) says, we want people who love us and not blow us up, and those who can support themselves to some degree; and they should be somewhat proficient in English or willing to learn it over a period of time, so we can communicate.”
Marshall also said he’s in favor of term limits nationwide — 10 years for U.S. Representatives or five terms; and 12 years or two terms for U.S. Senator.
He also is opposed to abortions and also funding for abortions. He’s 100 percent pro-life and wants Illinois to be a pro-life state.
He also would like to see one-way tolls for people coming into the state from top to bottom.
“Our roads downstate are pretty bad,” said Marshall. “We could put tolls on state and major highways and it would be a big, new source of income for our new state.”
Marshall was born in Dayton, Ohio, to a modest working-class family. His father was a police officer and his mother was a homemaker. The family lived in public housing until they saved enough money to build their own home when he was a teen.
He attended Oberlin College, where he was awarded membership to the Phi Beta Kappa honor society and was granted special admission to Harvard Medical School. He completed his specialty training in New York and Boston. He served as the assistant director of radiology at MacNeal Hospital for three years before opening his own private practice in 1984.
Marshall continues to work as a radiologist in cities and towns across the state, from Metropolis to Rockford and Rock Island. Marshall said his work involves traveling and substituting for doctors who are taking time off for medical reasons or vacations. He works in about 30 different cities throughout Illinois.
Politically, he served his community on the Burr Ridge Board of Trustees, was on the board of directors for the PAV YMCA Club in Berwyn, and has been active on the Burr Ridge/Willowbrook Chamber of Commerce, as well as the Berwyn Development Corporation.
He lives in Burr Ridge with his wife, Susan. They have four children. He has lived in Illinois for 38 years.