G-PAC Primary Victories Include Upset in House District 16 with Kevin Olickal Defeating Incumbent State Rep. Denyse Wang Stoneback

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

G-PAC Primary Victories Include Upset in House District 16 with Kevin Olickal Defeating Incumbent State Rep. Denyse Wang Stoneback

G-PAC Secured More than Two Dozen Victories in Primary Election

Chicago — The Gun Violence Prevention PAC Illinois (G-PAC), the state’s leading political force in ending gun violence, is proud to announce the victories of more than two dozen gun-safety candidates in races in Tuesday’s primary election. Chief among them was an upset in House District 16, where Kevin Olickal (D-Skokie) defeated incumbent State Representative Denyse Wang Stoneback.

“Rep. Stoneback failed her constituents when she worked against and refused to vote for life-saving legislation that would require universal background checks for all gun sales and provide funding for mental health. Elected leaders must be held accountable, and while Rep. Stoneback claimed to be an advocate, we need leaders who will consistently work with us to end gun violence, not just use it as a talking point to win their elections,” said Kathleen Sances, President, and CEO of the Gun Violence Prevention PAC. “Since we founded G-PAC in 2013, we have created an electoral and legislative infrastructure that has made Illinois a safer state, and today we are proud to build on that legacy with major victories all across the state. We are confident that these gun safety candidates will be victorious in November and go on to further strengthen Illinois’ laws to help end the public health crisis of gun violence.”

More than two dozen endorsed candidates have won their primary election with G-PAC’s support. The organization was heavily involved in delivering victories in many contested races, including:

  • Sen. Omar Aquino (SD 2)
  • Sen. Robert Martwick (SD 10)
  • Sen. Celina Villanueva (SD 12)
  • Kevin Olickal (HD 16)
  • Rep. Lindsey La Pointe (HD 19)
  • Rep. Justin Slaughter (HD 27)

These resounding victories showcase G-PAC’s political strength by organizing hundreds of supporters. Each candidate has G-PAC’s continued support going into the general election as we continue to build and defend our gun safety majority in the Illinois legislature.

Following Tuesday’s election, each candidate will now regroup and get back on the campaign trail as they look to secure their seat on November 8, 2022, in the General Election. Once elected, these candidates will ensure that the Illinois legislature has a gun safety majority so Illinois can continue to protect and pass life-saving legislation as violence continues to affect our communities.

G-PAC has already passed three landmark pieces of legislation in the past four years that make Illinois’ gun laws some of the strongest in the nation, including:

  • GHOST GUNS LAW (Public Act 102-0889): Criminals are using untraceable weapons to commit crimes without being caught, and law enforcement around the country has recovered an increasing number of ghost guns in recent years. G-PAC passed a law to make Illinois the first state in the Midwest – and only 12th in the nation – to make the transfer, purchase, manufacture, importation, and possession of ghost guns illegal.
  • BLOCK ILLEGAL GUN OWNERSHIP (BIO) LAW (Public Act 102-0237): Our FOID Card system was broken, so G-PAC passed a law that expands background checks to all gun sales, creates a stolen gun database, requires the Illinois State Police to remove guns from people with revoked FOID cards, invests in mental health funding, and more. This measure closes dangerous loopholes that supply the illegal guns fueling Illinois’ gun violence epidemic.
  • GUN DEALER LICENSING LAW (Public Act 100-1178): Unregulated gun dealers were operating in Illinois for far too long. Not anymore. G-PAC passed a law that requires all gun dealers to be certified by the Illinois State Police; mandates employee training, video surveillance, and inspection of all gun dealers; and requires state police to publish key information on crime-related firearms.


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.