No criminal case will be decided because an insider places a phone call to my cell phone. No property tax appeal will be rubber stamped because of a political contribution to my campaign. The insiders of the Cook County Democratic Party such as Ed Burke and Toni Preckwinkle will not have a puppet in the State’s Attorney office. I have always been fiercely independent. The insiders know that, which is why they always oppose me. When I’m State’s Attorney, every case will be decided on its merits without fear or favor. You can count on it.
Equal protection under the law. It is the bedrock of our society and something I believe in with all my heart. Long before it was trendy, I fought to get and keep the wrongly accused out of jail. As State’s Attorney, I will treat everyone in Cook County the same, regardless of what they look like, where they live, or who they love, the same way I did as 2nd Ward Alderman and in my career as a civil rights attorney. The unemployed factory worker in Jefferson Park, the custodian in Chatham, the flight attendant in Schiller Park and the auto worker in Lansing will get the same billing in my office as the downtown CEO or the Hollywood celebrity. In my Administration, the rights of victims and taxpayers will receive top priority, while also protecting the rights of the accused. These goals are not inconsistent.
What should Chicago do to reduce the number of illegal guns?
The first step in reducing the number of illegal guns is to keep violent criminals who possess illegal guns in jail. Unlike the current State’s Attorney, I will oppose I Bonds and home confinement for violent criminals who pose a threat to our safety.
I support the recent legislation increasing maximum prison sentences for those who use illegal guns to commit violent crimes. Due to Supreme Court rulings, we must look to Springfield and Washington for help in limiting the number of illegal guns that come into our city from other states or other parts of Illinois. Laws that affect the trafficking of illegal guns including limiting bulk gun sales, cracking down on straw buyers, and toughening enforcement against “bad apple” gun dealers (90% of guns used in criminal acts can be traced to 5% of gun dealers. This is no coincidence), and closing the loopholes in buying guns without a background check, must be done at the state and federal level and I will work with our state and federal officials.
It is a complex problem, not just limited to illegal guns. The job of the State’s Attorney is to put those who endanger our safety in jail. But overall the solutions are also complex, for which I have fought for my whole public career. The most important thing is to invest in our neighborhoods, ensuring excellent schools and good jobs are not limited to the downtown area. Next, is reopening the mental health clinics that were closed in a short-sighted effort to save a relatively small amount of money. I was a sharp and vocal critic of those closings. We also cannot continue to have a shortage of law enforcement personnel. The previous Mayor promised to hire 1,000 new police officers when he first ran. He didn’t. The new Mayor has frozen new police hires. I voted “No” on six of eight budgets while I was in the City Council largely because they did not provide enough resources for law enforcement. I will push relentlessly for the hiring of more law enforcement personnel. Finally, as State’s Attorney, I would seek to open our own crime lab to reduce the unacceptable backlog of unsolved cases. One reason for the low clearance rate of violent crimes is that law enforcement is forced to wait months for evidence to come back from the state crime lab. Other large counties have their own crime labs. In partnership with other law enforcement agencies in the Chicago area, so should we.
As everyone knows, our property tax system is broken. Many don’t know that the Cook County State’s Attorney has an important role to play in ensuring everyone’s property taxes are fair. After the property tax appeal lawyers like Ed Burke make their shady deals with the politicians who oversee their clients’ property taxes, the State’s Attorney can have the final word by filing a lawsuit on behalf of the taxpayers to undo any shady deals that give unfair insider tax breaks to the wealthy and privileged.
The current State’s Attorney has taken tens of thousands of dollars from these property tax appeal lawyers such as Ed Burke. According to the Chicago Tribune, she then routinely rubber stamps their shady insider deals (sometimes in the millions of dollars) rather than standing up for the beleaguered homeowners and small business owners.
As State’s Attorney I will make it a priority to scrutinize every insider property tax deal and do what is necessary to protect taxpayers from them.
As a civil rights attorney who has always supported law enforcement (these are not mutually exclusive), I am the only candidate for State’s Attorney who has credibility with all stakeholders in the efforts to reduce violent crime and help rebuild the trust between the police departments and communities who sometimes feel law enforcement is not always on their side. In my campaign for County Board President, I was endorsed both by Black Lives Matter and every law enforcement group in Cook County. This is because they know that when it comes to law enforcement, I can bring everyone together.
There is a large Civil department in the office of the State’s Attorney, whose duties include the ability to protect our residents from being harmed by those who poison our environment.
The current State’s Attorney has been strangely silent about the danger posed to Cook County residents by Sterigenics, tainted water in the south suburbs and the lingering problem of soot and manganese on the southeast side of Chicago. Leadership cannot be about standing down while other State’s Attorneys stand up for their residents.