- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 30, 2013

Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk is an out-of-touch white man with “simplistic, unworkable” ideas to fix Chicago’s gang problem, said a black congressman from the state.

Rep. Bobby L. Rush, a Democrat in Illinois’ 1st congressional district,told the Chicago Sun-Times that the Republican senator is offering an “upper-middle-class, elitist white boy solution to a problem he knows nothing about.”

Mr. Rush made the comments during a phone interview with the Sun-Times in regards to Mr. Kirk’s plan to spend $30 million targeting gang violence, particularly to “crush a major urban gang” such as the Gangster Disciples.

“it’s a sensational, headline-grabbing, empty, simplistic, unworkable approach,” Mr. Rush said.

Mr. Rush’s idea: Use the $30 million to create jobs and in so doing, target “the big picture.”

He later softened his tone, emailing a statement to the paper to clarify his remarks.

Mr. Kirk’s “current plan does not include the option to create jobs, provide affordable and safe housing, quality health care and improve schools in urban areas, BUT certainly a plan to incarcerate 18,000 black men is elitist. Why is incarceration the sole option instead of rehabilitation which is proven to work and not locking young men up,” the email stated.

A spokesman for Mr. Kirk responding to the criticisms said the senator would “continue to work” to “keep Illinois families safe.”