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Chris Kennedy Discusses Illinois' Gun Violence Problem, His Plan For Change

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Democratic candidate for governor Chris Kennedy was on the West Side Wednesday, blaming Republicans and Democrats for the continuing problem of gun violence across the city and state.

Flanked by Congressmen Danny Davis and Bobby Rush, Kennedy said, as governor, he would combat urban violence by attacking its economic causes and being honest about the problem.

"They know that opportunity is the end of violence. If we give our people opportunity, violence will decline," he said. "We must break the cycle of elected officials protecting themselves and the establishment instead of protecting the community."

He said Mayor Rahm Emanuel is not doing enough.


"And I think the effort by the city to brief people, to convince them that the trend is looking good, that the problem has been solved, to move on and to not admit to the scope of the problem, I think is damaging in and of itself," Kennedy said.

Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson fired right back.

"I'm not a politician, but I do take issue when the hard work our men and women are doing to beat back this violence is used to score political points," Johnson said.

Kennedy also said Emanuel is behind a plan to push African Americans out of the South Lakefront to enrich his wealthy friends in real estate.

"Instead of using our resources to revitalize our city, we're cutting off resources to push people of color out of our city, and perhaps out of the way of economic development," Kennedy said.

A spokesperson for Emanuel flatly denies Kennedy's allegations, saying, "It's sad to see Chris Kennedy using cynical, politically motivated attacks about Chicago's communities for his own personal gain. [They] are a direct assault on one of this city's great strengths -- our diversity."

According to CBS 2 Political Reporter Derrick Blakley, Kennedy is "clearly" attacking the mayor on violence as a means of securing black support. However, it's billionaire J.B. Pritzker -- not Emanuel -- who Kennedy needs to beat in the March primary.

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