State’s Attorney challenger Kim Foxx with Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky at a gathering of Democrats on Dec. 12. Submitted photo

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Most of the North Shore elected establishment gathered on Dec. 12 to kick off the Kim Foxx campaign for Cook County State’s Attorney with an organizational meeting held at the Hilton Garden Inn in Evanston. One theme dominated, as speaker after speaker placed current State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez firmly in the crosshairs and called Ms. Foxx the best possible replacement.

Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky introduced Ms. Foxx, saying, “We need someone who is going to be there and make sure justice is done in our county. …. We need change in that office.”

Ms. Schakowsky was joined by Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, who called the election critically important in Evanston, particularly in the communities “affected by the violence here in town. … Seldom do I get to stand up and tell you this as a matter of life and death,” he said.

Ninth Ward Alderman Brian Miller and several Democratic committeemen, including Evanston’s Eamon Kelly, were also in the crowd of about 100. Evanston’s representatives to the Illinois General Assembly, Representatives Laura Fine and Robyn Gabel and Senator Daniel Biss, along with Heather Steans whose district until recently included a portion of Evanston, were also among the Foxx supporters at the meeting.

Sen. Biss attacked Ms. Alvarez, saying, “One thing she’s consistently said is her problem is how to protect the status quo. … She’s consistently on the side against letting the truth come out [and for] protecting those in power.” Ms. Alvarez, many said, mishandled the prosecution of the police officer charged with the murder of Chicago teen Laquan McDonald. Ms. Alvarez waited more than 400 days to issue charges, and only did so after a judge ordered the release of a video showing the killing.

Ms. Foxx arrived at the Hilton Garden Inn after visiting five local churches. At each church, she said, she received an ovation after simply mentioning that she is running against Anita Alvarez. “We need a change, and I don’t think we need to make the case,” she said. The McDonald controversy has been “damaging to the county’s reputation across the country,” she said.

“I grew up in Cabrini Green in the ’70s and ’80s,” said Ms. Foxx. She moved a mile-and-a-half north to attend a better high school, she said, adding “I was invested in” in high school. During a six-month stint, she was homeless, staying in a shelter, but remained in school.

Based on her background, including work as a prosecutor of juvenile offenders and as chief of staff for Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Ms. Foxx said she is “prepared for the task. I was being molded for this job, and I didn’t even know it.”

Ms. Foxx is in a three-way primary race for State’s Attorney, running against Ms. Alvarez as well as Chicago attorney Donna More. Ms. More, according to Sen. Biss, recently self-funded her own campaign with $240,000. Such a contribution removes normal individual contribution limits, he said, calling on the crowd to dig deep to fund the Foxx campaign.