Bob Fioretti is certainly no stranger to politics. He's a former Chicago alderman who has also run for mayor, Illinois state senator and Cook County board commissioner president.
Now he's one of the candidates vying to defeat Kim Foxx in the March 17 Democratic primary for Cook County state's attorney.
Windy City Times: You were alderman for eight years, and have run for various offices since your term. Why run again?
Bob Fioretti: I have to tell you: Richard Boykin, I thought, was in the race for Cook County board president. The day he dropped out he started mentioning me, and people approached me and wanted to run. I did what I was [supposed to do], and they came up with it. I am very surprised by the amount of support I have out there.
I don't need to run for executive office. I've fought and battled cancer. The Democratic Partyas corrupt as it ishas doubled and tripled down on resources to defeat me each and every time. I never made a penny or profited from running for office. People have asked me to be a lobbyist, but that feels like profiting all the same. So that's why I'm running: I can make a difference.
WCT: You're being outspent in these racesso how can you come through and win?
BF: I'll keep pushing the issues. In the county board president race, [Toni Preckwinkle] wouldn't gone unopposed. We need to bring forward the issues. This county and state are in deep trouble. We're losing so many people. Years ago, I called for people to be paid $15/hour; now you need to make about $17/hourand people have to deal with things like property taxes and [personal] safety.
WCT: That's interesting about wages, as the federal wage is still $7.25/hour. But let's move to the Jussie Smollett case. What would you have done differently from Kim Foxx's office?
BF: I would not have taken a call from [Chicago attorney] Tina Tchen at six o'clock in the morning. That call influenced the way the investigation went. Number two, I would not have misrepresented a lie to the public that I was recusing myself from the case; you either recuse or you don't recuse. And, third, celebrities and the rich should not be treated differently from anyone elseand the Jussie Smollett case is just the tip of the iceberg. That case destroyed any belief that people had in the criminal-justice system; African-Americans have said they're voting for me because of that case.
WCT: You've also talked about the state's attorney's office having its own crime lab.
BF: The problem is that the DNA testing and everything else with the state is so far behind. We need to create a countywide crime lab so we can start processing these cases and move things forward.
WCT: What has been your involvement with the LGBTQ community?
BF: At one point, I lived near the community, at Addison and Lake Shore Drive. I have been a strong proponent of the LGBTQ community. I fought against the inequities that exist, and I've tried to find ways for straight people to be culturally responsive. I was probably one of the first people out there for marriage equality. I fought for affordable housing for the gay community, and I've fought for jobs, mental-health facilities and help for young people. There are way too many inequities out there.
WCT: So what do you think is the most important issue the LGBTQ community faces?
BF: I know there's an alderman out there who has a gay daughter and doesn't want to talk to her. I do think the understanding of your sexuality is the most important issue. We could talk about crime and other issues, but it's [key] that someone understands who they are. Once you understand that, then you can talk about what happens in the outside world.
That's a very complex question. There are so many issues surrounding sexual orientation and gender identity.
WCT: What do you feel is your biggest advantage in this race, and your biggest disadvantage?
BF: The biggest disadvantage is that I don't have a millionaire father to write a big check, or that I take money from special-interest groups. Kim Foxx has taken money from Ed Burke and [Martin] Sandoval, and all the red-light cameras. Big money is obviously influencing a lot in this race, whether it's the incumbent or my challengers. I don't take money from lobbyists.
My biggest advantage is that I understand what people in this county want: safe streets and communities, good educational opportunities and good jobsand it doesn't matter who you are.
See BobForStatesAttorney.com .