After months of fundraising, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx officially announced last week that she’s running for reelection. Her decision to seek a second term comes amid a growing field of challengers and ongoing criticism of her office’s handling of the Jussie Smollett case.
Foxx spoke with Reset to discuss her bid and more.
On her top achievements since taking office
Kim Foxx: When I came into office in 2016, it was the bloodiest year in Chicago since 1999. We had over 760 people murdered, 4,000 people shot. And when we looked at how we were using our resources, the fact of the matter is we weren’t addressing violent crime in the way that the people deserved and were spending too much of our time on low-level offenses that weren’t driving public safety. And so I’m pleased to say that in the course of that time, that we’ve reallocated our resources to go after violent crime, … we stood up to President Trump and his attack on immigrant communities. We’ve fought the NRA in court against our assault weapons ban that they’ve been challenging, and quite frankly, you know, the FOP in their efforts to take us backwards, who fundamentally don’t believe that you can have criminal justice reform and public safety. … I’m proud of our efforts around the legalization of marijuana.
On what she would do differently with the Jussie Smollett case
Foxx: Reemphasize to the public that when I was elected in 2016, it was on a fundamental change in our justice system and focusing on violent crime and using our incarceral state for people who are a threat to our communities. And in doing that, making sure that people understand what that looks like, but also focusing the attention on the fact that in the last six months, our office has continued to prosecute first-degree homicide cases, almost 40 cases just since April, since this conversation around this one case has taken place. That in August, we put the killers of Tyshawn Lee behind bars, where parents were afraid to send their children out to schools because of what happened. And so, you know, we’ll continue to talk about how we engage and use our resources, but do the very hard work which is fighting violent crime in our communities every day.
On her relationship with the Chicago Police Department
Foxx: The Chicago Police Department is a partner to us in this work. They are, on the cases that come from the city of Chicago, they’re witnesses on our case. And what I can tell you is that the hardworking men and women of the Chicago Police Department, laying their lives on the line every day, are dedicated to keeping our communities safe. What this has to be and has been about for myself and the superintendent [is] rising above rhetoric and politics to work on behalf of the people of Cook County. And I can tell you, the men and women of the Cook County state’s attorney’s office, who are equally as dedicated to this work, have a working relationship that people can be proud of.
On concerns about bail reform and safety
Foxx: The superintendent and the mayor have been very proud about the fact that violent crime statistics have gone down over the course of the last three years. … Since December of 2016, you know, violent crime has gone down month over month, year over year, and that’s because of the hard work that’s been done on the ground with our police partners, community engagement and, quite frankly, the mayor. And so as violent crime has gone down, while at the same time we’ve implemented bail reform, [that] would suggest that there is no correlation that crime is going up. In fact, the evidence suggests otherwise.
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity. Click the “play” button to hear the entire conversation.