Steve FunkEvanston resident Steve Funk starts circulating petitions today hoping to create some competition in the 18th District state house race.

Funk is hoping to win a ballot slot as the Libertarian Party candidate for the house seat being vacated by Julie Hamos.

The winner of the Democratic primary, Robyn Gabel, is currently unopposed in the general election — with no candidate selected for the race by either the Republican or Green parties.

Funk, of 1222 Elmwood Ave., is the only candidate seeking to run as a Libertarian for the state house this year.

Today is the first day minor-party candidates can circulate petitions for the general election.

Funk says he has a core group of 10 to 15 volunteers working with him and that he hopes to gather 5,000 petition signatures by the June 14 deadline. That would be almost twice the minimum needed to qualify — but he says the extras will be needed to fend off challenges.

Funk, 39, says his biggest issue is the state’s fiscal crisis. He says Governor Pat Quinn has proposed a “beg, borrow and steal” approach to the problem — begging for more federal stimulus money, taking on more debt and hiking  personal and corporate income taxes.

And he notes that Gabel has said she favors an even larger income tax increase than the one proposed by the governor.

“I believe we can responsibly cut spending and get rid of debt to get the state back on a solid footing,” Funk says.

He’s set up a campaign website, and a Facebook page where he’s discussed a number of other issues — including his opposition to bans on making cell phone calls while driving.

Funk says he’s lived in Evanston for seven years, is originally from Wisconsin and went to school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

He works as the head of the ticket sales department for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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