CHICAGO (February 10, 2020) – The Illinois Gun Violence Prevention Political Action Committee (G-PAC) and Giffords, the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, have jointly endorsed 18 Democratic candidates for the March 17, 2020 Illinois primary election for their leadership in supporting and advancing legislation to keep Illinois families and communities safe from gun violence.

“This February marks the one-year anniversary of the shooting at the Henry Pratt manufacturing company in Aurora, IL, in which five people were killed and six injured. Tragically, our communities are no safer than they were one year ago,” said Kathleen Sances, President and CEO of G-PAC. “We need representatives who are willing to take a stand and push to pass meaningful legislation – like The BIO (Block Illegal Gun Ownership) Bill, SB1966 – that will fix the FOID card system and help put a stop to preventable gun violence tragedies in Illinois. We are proud to endorse these candidates who have made a clear commitment making Illinois a safer place to live.”

In Illinois, someone is killed with a gun every seven hours, claiming the lives of 1,310 residents each year and wounding many more. The annual cost of gun violence is $7.2 billion.

G-PAC and Giffords PAC are proud to endorse candidates who will stand up to the corporate gun lobby and work to make our communities safer. These candidates will lead on requiring background checks on all gun sales, strengthening state licensing requirements, banning large-capacity ammunition magazines, investing in community-based violence prevention programs, and expanding extreme risk protection orders.

“Illinois showed the rest of America what it means to lead on gun safety,” said Joanna Belanger, political director at Giffords. “After years of obstruction from state lawmakers unwilling to buck the gun lobby, voters sent to Springfield a new class of champions ready to pass legislation to end the gun violence epidemic. Now it’s time to grow this gun safety majority. That’s why Giffords is proud to join G-PAC in endorsing these courageous gun safety leaders. With their victories, Illinois will continue to shine as a nationwide example of what it means to prioritize gun safety.”

For the Illinois Senate:

Hon. Antonio Munoz, 1st District
Hon. Robert Martwick, 10th District
Hon. Robert Peters, 13th District
Hon. Cristina Castro, 22nd District

For the Illinois House:

Hon. Aaron Ortiz, 1st District
Hon. Theresa Mah, 2nd District
Hon. Jawaharial Williams, 10th District
Michelle Darbro, candidate, 20th District
Hon. Justin Slaughter, 27th District
Hon. Thaddeus Jones, 29th District
Hon. Mary E. Flowers, 31st District
Hon. Andre Thapedi, 32nd District
Hon. Jaime Andrade, 40th District
Janet Yang Rohr, candidate, 41st District
Martha Paschke, candidate, 65th District
Suzanne Ness, candidate, 66th District
Hon. Barbara Hernandez, 83rd District

For Cook County State’s Attorney:

Hon. Kimberly M. Foxx

The Illinois Gun Violence Prevention PAC (G-PAC) is a non-partisan political action committee that was founded to counter the political influence of the gun industry and their lobby in Springfield, Illinois. G-PAC raises the resources necessary to protect and elect public officials who step up to fight the gun violence epidemic, and work against those who don’t support keeping our communities safe.

Giffords is a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives from gun violence. Founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Navy combat veteran and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, Giffords inspires the courage of people from all walks of life to make America safer.

As the Lake County State’s Attorney, I am honored and humbled every day to lead the fight against crime, and to strive to ensure equal and just treatment under the law. I have been an attorney for twenty-two years – and each of those years has made me a stronger and smarter advocate for people, for ideas, and for the principles that unite us all.

I am so proud to lead an office of 140 dedicated colleagues who serve the public by prosecuting crime, advocating for victims, and planning crime prevention programs. I am also proud to work with hundreds of Lake County police officers on a daily basis to connect with every community and to develop comprehensive, holistic plans to respond to the mental health and economic crisis that arose from the COVID-19 pandemic.

On one particular day, July 4, 2022, I was saddened, inspired, and motivated by the bravery of so many people. We will always stand with the victims and honor the police and other first responders who ran toward the danger. Just as so many heroes that day thought only of themselves, I also witnessed the prosecutors in my office answer the call to serve survivors and their community – even on one of its darkest days.

Every moment that I have been your legal representative, I have worked tirelessly to oversee prosecutions and to implement policies that make my family and my neighbors safer in the short term and in the long term. That is the job of the State’s Attorney: to prosecute, to innovate, and to strategically plan.

I was raised in a small town. My parents are teachers, and from them, I learned that everyone must be treated equally and that America’s sacred mission is to provide a political, economic, and legal system that allows anyone to prosper regardless of the circumstances of their birth. After graduating from Knox College and the University of Chicago Law School, I spent two years at a first-rate civil law firm in Chicago where I learned that hard work and attention to detail on every case mean the difference between success and failure.

With my wonderful wife Stephanie, I am raising my two sons, Sam and Teddy, in Lake County. Nothing is more important to me than my family’s safety and I bring that passion and determination to protect all families with me to work every day.

I joined the Lake County Public Defender’s Office in 2003 and started my own law firm in 2009. From 2003 until 2020, I watched the Lake County legal system fail to prioritize violent crime, prevent wrongful prosecutions, or address racial disparities.

So, in 2019, I decided to run for State’s Attorney so that I could serve our community by improving a local legal system that cared more about covering up its mistakes and biases than uncovering new and innovative ways to help people.

I won the 2020 election, and became the first Democrat to hold this position in 40 years. Bringing in a new party wasn’t as important as ending 40 years of one mindset that had forgotten the people and that had failed to act urgently to develop new strategic plans to prevent crime while also ensuring that each prosecution is smart, moral, and just.

We have followed through on our promises. We have built the first-ever violent crimes unit, increased prosecutors in our domestic violence division, and vastly upgraded our cyber lab. Now, we have top-notch software and personnel to finally keep up with those who would exploit others.

We have been awarded a large federal grant to bring the first ever Human Trafficking Task Force to Lake County. We have deepened our investment in people by bringing in more victim specialists and raising the salaries of many of our prosecutors.

But the work goes on. We must expand our prevention efforts that are starting with the Gun Violence Prevention Initiative launched in 2022. And we know that the opioid crisis touches thousands of lives throughout this country.

I am proud to serve on the Executive Board of the Lake County Opioid Initiative which has been working tirelessly since its founding in 2012 to reverse a devastating trend of increased overdoses. In 2022, our office was part of a national settlement against opioid manufacturers and distributors.

As an attorney of 22 years, I have committed my life to helping people, and I have conducted over 70 jury trials in Lake County, and handled appeals that have culminated in over 20 oral arguments before the appellate court and Supreme Court of Illinois.

I see my time in this office as the next phase of helping a community that I love and where I have chosen to raise my family. In my first term, we have made Lake County safer and fairer through just prosecutions, constitutional policing, and innovative crime prevention policies.