Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., knocked a proposal from Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., that Chicago law enforcement round up members of a powerful gang as an “elitist white-boy solution” to the crime problem in that city.
“[It's an] upper-middle-class, elitist white-boy solution to a problem he knows nothing about,” Rush, the only politician to defeat President Obama in a race for federal office (Obama challenged him in a 2000 congressional bid), told the Chicago Sun-Times Wednesday. In a follow-up email to the newspaper, Rush wrote that “certainly a plan to incarcerate 18,000 black men is elitist. Why is incarceration the sole option instead of rehabilitation which is proven to work and not locking young men up?” He said a plan was needed that includes “the option to create jobs, provide affordable and safe housing, quality health care and improve schools in urban areas.”
Kirk and Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., selected a U.S. attorney nominee Wednesday, Zachary Fardon. “After meeting with Mr. Fardon today, I am more convinced than ever that he is the right choice for northern Illinois’ next U.S. Attorney,” Kirk said in his statement. “I believe he is the best pick to build upon Patrick Fitzgerald’s legacy and take down dangerous drug gangs like the Gangster Disciples that threaten our communities.”
Durbin added that “Mr. Fardon knows Chicago and the challenges our city faces, and I’ve advised him to be ready as soon as he is confirmed to tackle the everyday gang and gun violence plaguing the streets of our city.”
Kirk’s team isn’t getting into a war of words with Rush. “Senator Kirk’s commitment to stopping gang violence in our communities goes back more than a decade,” Kirk spokesman Lance Trover said in a statement to The Washington Examiner (the Sun-Times was given the same statement). “The senator will continue to work with Senator Durbin, Mayor Emanuel, law enforcement and the entire congressional delegation to keep Illinois families safe.”
According to CNN, “some 506 people were murdered [in Chicago] last year, according to local crime statistics, up from 433 in 2011.”