City Club of Chicago: Repeat Gun Offenders: What Do We Do?

City Club of Chicago

(L-R) Hon. Michael Connelly, Eddie T. Johnson, Hon. Kwame Raoul, Hon. Elgie Sims, and Hon. Michael Zalewski at the Repeat Gun Offenders panel at the City Club of Chicago, November 3, 2016 (City Club of Chicago)

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November 3, 2016

Repeat Gun Offenders: What Do We Do? – Hon. Michael Connelly, Eddie T. Johnson, Hon. Kwame Raoul, Hon. Elgie Sims, and Hon. Michael Zalewski

Hon. Michael Connelly

State Senator Michael Connelly is currently serving his second term in the Illinois Senate after serving two terms in the Illinois House of Representatives.

His District includes Naperville, Lisle, Wheaton, Warrenville, Winfield, Carol Stream, West Chicago and Bloomingdale.

In the State Senate, he serves on the Judiciary, Labor, Licensed Activities and Pensions, Commerce and Economic Development Committees. He is the Minority Spokesman for the Senate Criminal Law Committee and serves as a member of the Illinois State Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform.

For his support of private sector businesses, Senator Connelly received the Guardian of Small Business Award from the National Federation of Independent Businesses and the Champion of Free Enterprise Award from the Illinois Chamber of Commerce.

Senator Connelly was born in Chicago and raised in LaGrange. He graduated from Loyola University in 1986 and the John Marshall Law School in 1989.

Senator Connelly previously served as an assistant State’s Attorney in Cook County and as a law clerk to Justice Allan Stouder of the Illinois Appellate Court. He has been in the private practice of law for over 20 years.

Michael Connelly and his wife, Lisa, have been married 26 years and have three children.

Eddie T. Johnson

Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson joined the Chicago Police Department as a patrolman in May 1988 and has served in several supervisory roles, including Sergeant (5th District), Sergeant (Detective Division), and Gang/Tactical Sergeant. After that, he served as a Lieutenant in patrol in the 15th District (Austin) before being promoted to Commander of the 6th District (Gresham), Deputy Chief for Area Central, Executive Officer of Patrol and finally Chief of Patrol, where he commanded 8,000 police officers. Johnson is a member of the Executive Board of NOBLE’s Chicago Chapter, the St. Jude Board of Directors, and the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation Assistance Committee. He has a received a number of policing awards — including department commendations, Chicago Defender Men of Excellence Award, and others. Johnson is a Chicago native who grew up in Cabrini Green until he was nine years old, at which point his family moved to Washington Heights where he continues to reside.

Hon. Kwame Raoul

State Senator Raoul was born in Chicago on September 30, 1964, to Haitian-born immigrants Marie Therese Raoul and Janin Raoul, M.D. He has served the people of the 13th Legislative District since November 6, 2004. Raoul, a lifelong resident of the Hyde Park/Kenwood area, was appointed to fill the vacancy left by former State Senator Barack Obama’s election to the U.S. Senate.

Since his arrival in Springfield, Sen. Raoul has championed criminal justice reform. His successes include leading the charge to abolish the death penalty, creating the Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission, and improving and reinstating an early release program to relieve prison overcrowding while rehabilitating and reintegrating offenders. This year he has led Senate negotiations on concealed carry and successfully demanded inclusion of common sense restrictions and safeguards in the new law. At the same time, he was able to pass major legislation targeting gun trafficking by closing background check loopholes for firearms purchases.

As Chairperson of the Senate’s Pension and Investments Committee, Sen. Raoul fought for pension ethics reform and expanded opportunities for minority and women-owned financial service firms. In 2011, Sen. Raoul was tapped to chair the Senate’s Redistricting Committee. He introduced the Illinois Voting Rights Act to protect racial and language minorities and increase transparency and public participation in the redistricting process. Currently, Sen. Raoul serves as Chairperson of the Judiciary Committee, Vice Chairperson of the Criminal Law Committee, and as a Member of the Labor and Commerce, Insurance and Public Health Committees.

Raoul is a graduate of DePaul University (B.A., Political Science) and the Chicago-Kent College of Law. He worked as a prosecutor for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and as an in-house counsel for the City Colleges of Chicago. He is now a partner with the national law firm Quarles & Brady. Sen. Raoul lives in the Hyde Park community of Chicago, where he proudly raises his two children, Che and Mizan.

Hon. Elgie Sims

Elgie Sims is serving his second full term as State Representative of the 34 District, which includes portions of the South Side of Chicago, Chicago’s south suburbs, and Will and Kankakee counties.

Sims offers a wealth of legislative experience as an attorney, second-generation small-business owner, and former Appropriations Director for the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus. He understands the value of hard work and how to develop common-sense solutions to tough challenges.

As a state representative, Sims continues to put families and communities first. He worked to pass a law to help revitalize the local economy by allowing low-interest loans to be awarded to small minority-owned and woman-owned businesses working on transportation projects for the state.

Sims helped to pass a law that gives more Illinois residents with criminal histories a better shot at a good future and a good job by allowing the records of certain non-violent crimes to be sealed. Sims also helped pass a law requiring universal background checks and requires lost or stolen guns to be reported within 72 hours.

Born in Chicago, Sims holds a B.A. in Political Science from Illinois State University, an M.P.A. from the University of Illinois and a J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. He and his wife reside in Chicago’s Chatham neighborhood with their two daughters.

Hon. Michael Zalewski

State Representative Michael J. Zalewski was elected to the Illinois House in 2008. There, he quickly showed a knack for taking on difficult issues with poise, tenacity, and a policy-focused, practical approach that has won over allies on both sides of the aisle. Michael has authored and led passage of a number of important laws, including Illinois’ first racketeering statute, comprehensive rideshare law, and the creation of an Independent Tax Tribunal to help repair the state’s sagging image with the business community. He serves as Chairperson of the House Health Care Licenses Committee, and Vice Chairperson of the House Personnel and Pensions Committee and Revenue and Finance Committee. In 2014, he also served as Co-Chairperson of a Joint Committee on Criminal Justice Reform.

Michael was born and raised on the southwest side of Chicago. He headed to Champaign for the University of Illinois and returned to Chicago to earn his J.D. at the John Marshall Law School. He began his legal career as a prosecutor in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office where his caseload included drug offenses, Class A misdemeanors, and DUI cases. He also serves in an of-counsel capacity at the law firm of Taft, Stettinius & Hollister where he focuses on business and regulatory matters.

Michael lives in west suburban Riverside with his wife Carrie and three children, Reese, Henry, and Ellamae.

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