Cook County State’s Attorney candidate holds Evanston reception


Maia Spoto/The Daily Northwestern

Cook County State’s Attorney Democratic primary challenger Donna More engages with community members at a Saturday reception for her campaign.

Maia Spoto, Assistant City Editor

Donna More, a Democratic primary challenger for Cook County State’s Attorney, called for balance and accountability in the criminal justice system during a Saturday reception in support of her campaign.

More, who grew up in Evanston and now works in legal private practice, addressed about 75 community members at a local family’s home last Saturday near Lee Street Beach on the importance of operating as a lawyer rather than a politician.

The former Cook County and federal prosecutor is running against incumbent Kim Foxx, former Chicago Ald. (2nd), Democratic Committeeman Bob Fioretti and another former Cook County prosecutor, Bill Conway, in the Democratic primary elections on March 17. She said Foxx is attached to the Democratic political machine, and she criticized Conway’s family wealth and his experience in legal work, saying Conway hasn’t practiced law in years.

More’s campaign manager, Baxter Swilley, said Foxx is leading a national reform movement against mass incarceration, but that Chicago is not America. He said that crime disproportionately targets poor communities in Cook County, and it is the state’s attorney’s responsibility to balance social justice with public safety.

“We want criminal justice reform,” Swilley said. “But we also want someone who’s going to put murderers and rapists in jail.”

More said she plans to hold people accountable in Cook County, but her model of accountability does not always involve incarceration.

For example, she said she will push for teenagers who commit low-level, nonviolent crimes to perform community service or work after school instead of spending time behind bars.

More also discussed Foxx’s approach to the Jussie Smollett case in 2019. She said she would ensure that the rich, famous and powerful members of Cook County do not move through a “second justice system” and receive special treatment because of their privilege.

More also said Cook County police need to face consequences for misconduct and develop better partnerships with the communities they serve.

“Nobody is above the law,” she said. “I don’t care whether they are black or white or navy blue.”

The reception also involved speeches from a group of local students, with a standalone address from University of Chicago Laboratory Schools student Brent Pennington. 2nd Ward Committeeperson Tim Egan and hosts Cerise and Tunji Ladipo voiced their support as well.

More said growing up in Evanston’s setting of gender, racial and religious diversity shaped her view of equality under the law.

“You have to learn to evaluate people for people,” More said. “That’s how I look at the world. I don’t look at the world through rose-colored glasses, but I take people as they are, and that’s how you make a better system.”

Cerise Ladipo said More’s coalition models inclusivity and appeals to both sides of the political aisle, but Ladipo is more concerned about More’s personal values.

She said she brought More into her home because she supports and respects More as a community member.

“Donna is a smart, articulate… honest, loyal person,” Ladipo said. “She is a great lawyer, and she can do the job.”

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