OUR ENDORSEMENTS

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Election day in Illinois is here.  Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is on a roll thanks to Black voters in South Carolina and the south. Cook County State’s Attorney is fighting for her political life after the Jussie Smollett fiasco. Three Blacks out of candidates are seeking a seat on the Illinois Supreme Court. They are among many candidates whom the Crusader reviewed for endorsement edition before the March 17 primary.

Joe Biden’s long political career in Washington includes eight years as vice president of Barack Obama, America’s first Black president. But his long ties to Black America is not the only reason why Biden has earned our endorsement. The biggest and most important achievement Biden has is years of political experience as vice president, U.S. senator and chairman of various Congressional committees. He gained wisdom and insight on U.S. foreign policy while forging relationships with world allies.

In the past three years, President Donald Trump has infected the White House and the U.S. Cabinet with tremendous instability and distrust. Under Trump, racial tensions and divisions in America deepened while Blacks continued to lag behind whites in employment, housing and education. While Trump and Republicans made failed attempts to repeal Obamacare, Biden has remained and loyal supporter of Affordable Health Care Act that has helped millions of poor citizens obtain insurance and quality healthcare.  This is sufficient and feasible than “Medical Healthcare for All” plan by Democratic Bernie Sanders, who as a senator from Vermont, has voted five times against gun control legislation, an issue that deeply affects many cities across America, including Black neighborhoods.

This endorsement is effective until after November 4. Biden isAmerica’s last hope in the battle to oust Trump from the White House. The Crusader believes he will fight for an agenda that includes people of color.

As president, Biden plans to invest $640 billion over 10 years to boost homeownership against Blacks and minorities. Biden seeks to eliminate redlining and other discriminatory and unfair practices that have kept many Blacks from living the American Dream. Biden also plans to enact the Legal Assistance to Prevent Evictions Acts, which will help tenants who face eviction. Biden also plans to help rebuild the Black middle class, which still struggling to recover from the Great Recession. Biden has pledge to invest over $70 billion in HBCU colleges and universities. He also pledged to invest 1.7$ million to stop corporations and energy companies from destroying the environment in Black neighborhoods with hazardous wastes.

Biden is not above criticisms. As senator, he voted in favor to pass three federal laws, that negatively affected thousands of Blacks across the country. But this was the 1980’s. Biden earned redemption as vice president of Obama. All is forgiven, but Black America will not forget.

Last month, Blacks in the south, saved Biden’s campaign from defeat after a dismal showing in caucuses and primaries in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada. The Crusader hopes that Biden won’t forget those who didn’t forget him.

Seeking his 15th term office, Congressman Bobby Rush renewed his long career with his Anti-Lynching bill, which was passed by the House 410-4 vote. Senators Corey Booker (New Jersey) and Kamala Harris introduced a Senate version of the bill that was unanimously passed last year. For 120 years, many anti-lynching bills were stalled or blocked, despite numerous efforts from Black political leaders. Known as the Emmett Till Act, the new law adds lynching to the federal list of hate crimes.

Rush’s bill kept a shameful act of America’s ugly past in the spotlight. Although the NAACP said there have been 4,743 recorded lynching between 1882 and 1968, many Blacks believe the number is a lot higher.

The Crusader endorses Kelly as she seeks her 5th term in Congress. Ending gum violence, healthcare and community infrastructure are Kelly’s three top priorities as a passionate public servant. They should be. Chicago Heights, Harvey, Calumet City, Hazel Crest, Homewood and Matteson are among many predominately Black communities in the district. After nearly eight years, Kelly has remained in touch with the issues facing her district.

In the past two years, Kelly helped pass legislation to help lower the price of prescription drugs and reduce barriers for seniors and working families to obtain dental care. In 2019. Kelly helped passed in the House the Bipartisan Background Checks bill, which closed loopholes that allowed many consumers on the internet and gun shows to purchase firearms without a background check.

Seeking his 12th term in Congress, the fire is still burning in Congressman Danny K. Davis. He has launched healthcare centers in the district and is a member of several Congressional Caucuses including the Congressional Black Caucus, the Progressive Caucus, the Urban Caucus, the Community Health Center’s Caucus, the Congressional Sugar Caucus, the Congressional Caucus on Black Men and Boys and Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Re-entry.

For decades, Davis has fought for protecting social security, maintaining our nation’s gains in civil and human rights, women’s rights, voting rights, protection of the environment, consumer and labor protections, reducing inequality, and ensuring quality, affordable health care for all, while maintaining his long time focus on issues of job creation, poverty, health care, education, youth and criminal justice reform.

On Wednesday, March 11, Chairman Davis announced a Subcommittee Hearing on Combatting Child Poverty in America in Washington.

State Representative Thaddeus Jones has served the district since 2011. Jones has sponsored several including the EMS-Background Checks Bill, which amends the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Systems Act. The bill requires Department of Public Health to fingerprint EMS applicants seeking a license or license renewal. Jones also sponsored a bill that would grant $5,000,400 to the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority to specified police departments to hire two additional police officers in the mitigation of firearm-related shootings. Jones also co-sponsored the Red Light Cameras-Ethics Bill, which says a contractor that provides equipment and services for automated law enforcement, automated speed enforcement, or automated railroad grade crossing enforcement systems to municipalities or counties or any political action committee created by such a contractor cannot make a $500 campaign contribution in a calendar year to any political committee established to promote the candidacy of a candidate.

State Representative Mary E. Flowers seeks her 18th term in office. She was elected to the Illinois House in 1985 and championed numerous bills in the Illinois Assembly. Flowers is currently sponsoring a bill that says a hospital or a hospital’s agent may not aggressively pursue debt collection for non-payment of a hospital bill against a patient with an annual household income of $51,000 or less by garnishing wages, seizing moneys from tax returns, or pursuing an action that may result in foreclosure on the patient’s home.

Flowers is also sponsoring a bill in the House that would help expecting mothers in public school systems on maternity leave. The bill calculates the paid sick leave for the birth or adoption of a child. Mothers do not have to take the leave immediately after the birth of the child or the adoption or placement of the child and the days do not have to be taken consecutively. The school board may not count any day in which school is not in session, including an extended break.

State Representative Andre Thapedia has served the district since 2009. A graduate of John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Thapedi has sponsored legal several clinics to educate people who are facing foreclosure in “debtors-prisons”. Thapedi said the budget impasses of 2016-2017 devastated his district, with the loss of violence prevention programs, senior support programs, childcare assistance, health care programs and after school programs. Thapedi said violent crime prevention, reducing tax burdens on residents and increasing job opportunities and vocational training are his three concerns in his district.

Kim Foxx seeks her second term as Cook County’s top prosecutor. After she was first elected in 2016, Foxx, implemented her criminal justice reform plan after inheriting an office that for decades disproportionally affected Blacks in Chicago, known to many as the “False Confession Capitol of the United States.”

Cook County’s jail population was among the nation’s highest. Many held non-violent offenders who couldn’t post bail.

In 2017, Foxx’s office stopped prosecuting people who were driving with suspended licenses. Many couldn’t pay the hundreds of dollars to get their license back, making Foxx’s office glorified bill collectors. It was a move that angered the Fraternal Order of Police and law enforcements in Cook County Suburbs.

Foxx’s office had 66 wrongful conviction case that were established by disgraced Sgt. Ronald Watts. Her office also withdrawn their opposition to appeals from victims of disgraced officer Reynaldo Guerrero, who framed at least 51 people for murder, many of them Latinos. The Crusader urges Foxx to focus on the cases like Roosevelt Myles that don’t get the same media attention as those the high-profile cases involving Watts and Commander Jon Burge

Foxx office’s vacated over 1,000 marijuana convictions before it became legal on January 1 this year.

Foxx critics accuse her of being soft on crime. They point to the case of Empire actor Jussie Smollett, who in 2019, faced 16 felony counts after he was accused of staging a hoax in the Streeterville neighborhood, where he said he was attacked by two men who were homophobic. While this was an embarrassment to Chicago, Cook County’s jail population and was an even bigger embarrassment that went on for decades. The Crusader believes Foxx handled badly the Smollett case, but too much time and energy has been spent on a non-violent crime that pales in comparison the destroyed lives of many men and women who were framed crooked officers.

Foxx’s opponents have piled on the Smollett criticism, but the real concern is their inability to articulate a reform agenda that the incumbent has successfully put together. They are determined to get elected by discrediting Foxx while shifting the focus away from their unimpressive resumes. It’s time to move on from the criticism. For Foxx, it’s time to move full steam ahead.

With his experience and political savvy, Richard Boykin is the most qualified to lead the nation’s second largest court system as Cook County Circuit Court Clerk.

Boykin has pledged to continue bringing the court’s administrative system into the 21st century. Considering the large volume of paperwork in the vast court system, that initiative is much-needed.

What is also needed is a high-profile public servant who can help disenfranchised, low-income residents navigate through the court fees and fines that have entrapped so many victims of poverty.

We strongly believe Boykin is the best candidate to get the job done. We also trust that Boykin will continue the expungement crusade started by his predecessor, Dorothy Brown.

Many residents seeking better lives still feel hopeless as they remain uneducated about the process of expunging stains from their records. Brown championed this cause during her career and there is no doubt that Boykin will do the same.

Brown has shown that the Cook County Circuit Clerk Court can truly be a public service position that can reach the voiceless and powerless. It takes empathy and passion to do this. Boykin has both qualities and so much more. His campaign to return to public office is highly welcomed at a time when politically, well-connected no- names seek public careers, to advance the agenda of the status quo.

Brown defied the political establishment. So will Boykin.

Like Brown, Boykin is an attorney who is aware of the traps and pitfalls of a broken system.

Boykin is a proven public servant. A former Cook County Commissioner, he reinvigorated politics with a new spirit of activism.

After Mayor Rahm Emanuel closed numerous health clinics in Chicago, Boykin led the initiative to place a referendum question regarding expanded funding for mental health treatment on the November 2014 ballot.

Justice P. Scott Neville has earned the Crusader’s endorsement to continue serving on the seven-member Illinois Supreme Court. He was appointed on the bench in 2018 after Justice Charles Freeman retired after 27 years as the first Black on state’s high court. Freeman died last month, leaving a distinguished legacy in Black history.

Three Blacks are among seven candidates seeking the position. They include Nathaniel Howse, Jr. and Cynthia Cobbs. Howse’s command of Illinois Circuit Court makes him an excellent candidate with insight. Cobbs administrative and judicial of the Illinois Supreme Court and the court system is unique. With his experience, depth and legal knowledge, Neville is supreme. Appointed in 2018 after the first Black Illinois Siupreme Court Justice Charles Freeman retired, Neville is the only candidate who has actually served as a justice on the Illinois Supreme Court. He is the only one of seven candidates who has earned the highest cumulative rating from 13 bar associations.

Neville’s judicial experience spans 20 years. However, Neville’s legal career goes back to 1977, when he was an attorney with Howard, Mann & Slaughter, a respected law firm that also employed prominent Civil Rights leader and Judge Archibald J. Carey Jr., who was also a Chicago alderman.

In 1999, Neville was appointed to the Circuit Court of Cook County. He held that position until 2004. On June 11, 2004, Neville was appointed to the Appellate Court. He remained there after he won election in 2012. Neville served as Chairman of the Executive Committee for the Illinois Appellate Court, First District. His appointment to the Illinois Supreme Court was the crowning achieving to a successful legal career.

The Crusader was impressed with Neville’s courage in his dissenting opinion after the high court denied Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s petition to review the sentencing of Officr Jason Van Dyke, who received under seven years after he was convicted of second degreed murder and aggravated battery with a firearm in 2018.

Our verdict is that Neville must remain on the high court. He is a respected and revered judge who has not forgotten his roots and the struggle for justice.

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