For Immediate Release
Tuesday, February 20

Isabelle Dienstag (G-PAC) | (224) 619-9001

Gun Violence Prevention PAC Illinois Stands with Parents Who’ve Lost Children
to Gun Violence to Endorse Senator Natalie Toro
Toro is running for State Senate in the 20th District

ILLINOIS– Today, the Gun Violence Prevention PAC Illinois (G-PAC), the state’s leading political force in ending gun violence held a press conference to announce their recent joint endorsement of Senator Natalie Toro with GIFFORDS PAC. Toro is running for state senate in the 20th Senate District.

Toro was accompanied by three mothers from the community who have tragically lost their children to gun violence. Elizabth Ramirez’s son, Harry Rodriguez, was killed in 2010 at his own birthday party while shielding his two other family members from fire, saving their lives and losing his own.

“Since losing Harry, I’ve tried to find solutions and support fellow parents who’ve lost their children to gun violence,” said Elizabth Ramirez. “I met Natalie Toro a few months ago and was impressed by her commitment to survivors and families impacted by gun violence. ”

Fellow parents Angela and Luis Lopez lost their 18 year old son, Benjamin Luis Lopez, in January of 2023 when he was tragically shot and killed in Rogers Park. Ben was an organ donor and was attending Wilbur Wright College. In honor of their son, the Lopez family has started the Benjamin Lopez Foundation.

“I’ve known Natalie since we were young,” said Angela Lopez, a second cousin of Toro. “I never imagined then that we’d be where we are today. I wish I could support her campaign as someone who’s seen her dedication and hard work for the community over the years, but instead I’m here as a mother whose child was murdered with a gun.”

“We need people like Natalie Toro representing us because she is one of us. She comes from the community, and she knows how gun violence is destroying families,” said Lopez.
“G-PAC is proud to endorse Senator Toro today because of her commitment to keep our children, families and communities safe from gun violence,” said Kathleen Sances, CEO and President of G-PAC. “As a sponsor of SB2633, Karina’s Bill, Toro is leading the way to protect women and children from armed abusers and gun violence that disproportionately affects communities of color in the 20th district and across the state. G-PAC looks forward to continuing our work together to champion meaningful legislation and create lasting change so that women and children are protected and parents don’t need to keep burying their children.”
“I am honored to stand alongside these brave families and receive the endorsement of G-PAC and GIFFORDS PAC” said Senator Natalie Toro. “Together, we can work towards a future where our communities are free from the devastating impact of gun violence. We should feel as safe walking in the community at 10 p.m. as we do at 10 a.m., and I know I don’t. I won’t rest until the illegal guns that keep our communities living in fear are off the streets once and for all.”

Earlier this month, G-PAC and GIFFORDS PAC also released additional 2024 Primary endorsements. Full list here.

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.