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  • Writer's pictureLucas Nava

Schmidt: "I am the only candidate in this race who will put the safety of our residents first"

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State House candidate Kevin Schmidt released a statement to the Metro East Sun following the filing of two lawsuits by state's attorneys over the SAFE-T Act.

"Ending cash bail will inevitably put dangerous people on the streets and make our communities less safe," Schmidt said. "Public safety is not a Democrat or Republican issue. It is an everyone issue. We need to prioritize the safety of our residents. Unlike LaToya Greenwood, I am the only candidate in the 114th District race who will put the safety of our residents first.”

Illinois state's attorneys representing Will and Kankakee Counties have filed lawsuits against parties including Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Attorney General Kwame Raoul, alleging that the SAFE-T Act violates the State Constitution.

Will County's James Glasgow's (D) lawsuit named Pritzker and Raoul alongside House Speaker Emanual Welch and Senate President Donald Harmon, with the complaint explaining that the SAFE-T Act violates numerous sections of the Illinois Constitution, such as Article 4, Section 8, which states that bills "shall be confined to one subject.” The complaint also named Article IV, Section 8(d), which states that "[a] bill shall be read by title on three different days in each house."

“It is my sworn duty as Will County’s state’s attorney to protect the people of Will County and the State of Illinois. To put it in plain and simple terms, this is not about politics; it is about public safety,” Glasgow said. “Sadly, I have received veiled threats over my opposition to this legislation, but I must put the safety of my constituents first."

Kankakee County's Jim Rowe (D) named Pritzker and Raoul in his lawsuit, asking said defendants to declare the SAFE-T Act unconstitutional. In response, Pritzker provided the Daily Journal with a statement calling the lawsuit "a weak attempt to protect the status quo."

Winnebago Sheriff Gary Caruana uploaded a video to YouTube on Friday explaining how the SAFE-T Act will alter the criminal justice system once it goes into effect on Jan. 1.

“Currently, our judges use an evidence-based process to determine if the alleged criminal defendant should be let out or should they be incarcerated during this time or before going to court," Caruana said. "This [current] system works. It’s not putting the community at risk. It's incarcerating the people that need to be incarcerated using metrics and tools that the judges use. [Under the SAFE-T Act]…There's a certain subsets of crimes that we're going to have to let out.”

He concluded by labelling the SAFE-T Act a failure and explaining that the authors of the bill are doing their best to ensure that the SAFE-T goes into effect next year.

The crimes Caruana referred to are: Aggravated battery, robbery, burglary, hate crimes, aggravated DUI, vehicular manslaughter, drug-induced homicide, drug offenses including trafficking and delivery of fentanyl, intimidation, kidnapping, second-degree murder, aggravated fleeing and threatening a public official.

According to The Center Square, Pritzker defended the elimination of cash bail at an unrelated press conference.

"We do not want someone in jail because they were arrested for a low-level crime like shoplifting to be sitting in jail for months or maybe even years," Pritzker said. "At the same time, someone who is a wealthy drug dealer, perhaps accused of murder and arrested, can show up with a suitcase full of money and get out of jail."

In March, SafeWise released the results of its 2022 State of Safety, which revealed that only 42% of Illinois residents report feeling safe, while 64% reported feeling "high daily concern" for their safety. Furthermore, 13% of respondents reported experiencing gun violence firsthand, which is an increase from 8% in 2021. Mass shooting incidents in Illinois increased by 25% from 2020 to 2021.

Schmidt is a self-described "strong conservative," father and husband with strong ties to the Metro East area. His election platform includes job growth, crime reduction and fighting for tax reform.

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