G-PAC Launches Legislator Contact Tool at Highland Park Townhall

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 21, 2022

G-PAC Launches Legislator Contact Tool at Highland Park Townhall

TOMORROW: G-PAC to Join Congresswoman Schakowsky, Fellow Advocacy Organizations to Launch “Protect Our Court” Campaign

Highland Park, Ill. — The Gun Violence Prevention PAC joined Highland Park Strong, a grassroots group of residents who formed in the wake of the July 4th mass shooting, along with Giffords, Moms Demand Action and JACPAC for a townhall on how residents can become advocates for stronger gun laws.

At the townhall, G-PAC launched a new legislator contact tool to help residents contact their state representatives and senators to demand action on gun violence in the upcoming special session: https://bit.ly/DemandILGunAction

G-PAC President and CEO Kathleen Sances caught up with WGN ahead of last night’s townhall:

Neighbors, gun violence prevention organizations hold Highland Park town hall

Since the shooting, Sances said the groundswell of activism is “moving the needle.” She encourages those who want to ban semi-automatic rifles and high-capacity magazines to call state representatives and senators. 

 “We want to keep this at the top of the conversation, at the top of everybody’s mind in Illinois that we demand action from our elected leaders now,” Sances said.

G-PAC founder Tom Vanden Berk, a longtime Highland Park resident who lost his fifteen-year-old son to gun violence in 1992, spoke to the group last night, and earlier this month told the Lake County News-Sun that tighter restrictions are warranted following the tragedy. “We are devoted to sensible gun laws and making sure people do not have access to illegal guns,” said Vanden Berk.

NEW “PROTECT OUR COURT” CAMPAIGN LAUNCHING TOMORROW

Campaign Launch to Highlight Importance of Illinois Court Races In Wake of U.S. Supreme Court Rulings

Recent decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court have drastically curtailed federal legal protections for Illinois residents in the areas of reproductive freedom, safety from gun violence, environmental protection, voting access and more.

Consequently, the Illinois Supreme Court remains the bulwark to protect those rights—but this November, elections for two open seats representing suburban districts will decide the court’s balance and direction.

The stakes couldn’t be higher, but judicial elections are traditionally of low voter interest. That’s why progressive advocacy coalition Citizen Action/Illinois is unveiling “Protect Our Court”, a new campaign to increase attention to the state Supreme Court races and educate voters on their rights that are at risk.

WHAT: News conference to unveil a new drive to alert and educate Illinois voters about the critical importance of the November races for the Illinois Supreme Court.

WHO: More than 100 civic leaders, legal experts and public officials have joined forces to support the “Protect Our Court” campaign. Kick-off event will feature:

  • Cong. Jan Schakowsky (CD 9)
  • Larry Rogers, Jr., Commissioner, Cook County Board of Review
  • Julie Hamos, former Director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services
  • Tim Drea, President, Illinois AFL-CIO
  • Renato Mariotti, former Assistant U.S. Attorney
  • Betty Magness, Illinois Political Director, Rainbow-PUSH Coalition
  • Howard Learner, President, Environmental Law and Policy Center
  • Kathleen Sances, President, Gun Violence Prevention Action Committee
  • William McNary, Co-director, Citizen Action/Illinois

WHEN: Friday, July 22 at 10:45 a.m.

WHERE: Powers, Rogers LLP (at 70 W. Madison, Suite 5500 in Chicago)

               RSVP required for security clearance

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About Gun Violence Prevention PAC (G-PAC)

The Gun Violence Prevention Political Action Committee (G-PAC) is the state’s leading gun violence advocacy organization. It was founded in 2013 to counter the political influence of the gun industry and their lobby in Springfield.

MEDIA CONTACT: ahanns@kivvit.com

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.