By JOSEPH PHILLIPS
In a Herald interview, Attorney Bill Lowry said if elected as the next Cook County Board Commissioner of the 3rd District, he’d work to build sustainable, mutually beneficial, multicultural communities throughout the District.
Lowry said he’d implement three strategies: First, he will work to ensure people have access to high-quality health care including mental health care and dental care; second, he’ll work to create revenue to support County services and protect jobs, and third, he’ll continue to find ways to help reduce the juvenile and adult jail populations by creating programs that reduce recidivism and re-integrate people back into society.
On the importance of providing high-quality health care for the people, Lowry believes it’s a right and not a privilege.
“I think that affordable health care is a right,” Lowry said. “When you look at what’s happening with the repeal of the individual mandate, it’s never been more important work than it is now. So I will fight to make sure we have an affordable health care bill for our children, our Medicaid recipients, and our seniors.”
The second issue Lowry would address would be jobs and economic development.
“We need more job skills training,” Lowry said. “I think we need a real placement effort relative to members of the district who have gone through training. It’s very important that we lean on our financial institutions so that they actually provide the capacity so that we can have available jobs throughout the whole district. While it’s important to have jobs on Michigan Avenue, we also need to have them on Stony Island and Cottage Grove.”
The third issue would be criminal justice reform.
When it comes to criminal justice reform, Lowry said he will support bail reform which he has already started. Including electronic monitoring, “already seen.” He will propose legislation for a fast track process for members of the community who are incarcerated for non-violent offenses.
Also in criminal justice reform, Lowry said, returning citizens from the criminal justice system really need assistance with re-entry. He shared they need to make sure they have jobs and job training.
“We don’t have a violence problem, we have an economic problem,” Lowry said. “We must develop strategies to keep our children out of the criminal justice system.”
Lowry said nothing could prepare him for the act of violence that happened on Jan. 29, 2013, when 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton was shot and killed just 10 feet away from his doorstep in the Kenwood neighborhood. Lowry said after witnessing this heinous crime in his community, his son Evan Lowry challenged him to “do something,” and that’s when he joined others and helped found “The It’s Time Organization (TITO).”
TITO is a not-for-profit organization founded in the memory of Pendleton with an emphasis on reducing youth conflict and violence by creating jobs and opportunities for young people in the 3rd, 4th and 5th Wards. Lowry said TITO has secured internships, summer employment and mentorships for many of the city’s youth.
Currently, Lowry is a partner and president of Nyhan, Bambrick, Kinzie & Lowry, P.C., a full service legal defense firm that handles multi-state civil litigation, in addition to Workers’ Compensation and employment.
The firm currently employs over 50 attorneys and 100 employees.
Lowry said it was Thurgood Marshall that encouraged him to enroll in Loyola University Law School where he graduated with a Juris Doctorate in 1987. While at Loyola, Lowry said Norman Amaker, one of Thurgood Marshall’s former civil rights attorneys with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, taught him. And in memory of the Professor, Lowry helped start the Amaker Scholarship fund at Loyola Law School to support students of color in their pursuit of a legal education.
Lowry has already amassed a long list of endorsements from elected officials that include State Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-13), State Sen. Donne Trotter (D-17), State Rep. Justin Slaughter (D-27), Chicago City Treasurer Kurt Summers, Ald. Sophia King (4th), Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th), Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd), Ald. Michelle Harris (8th) and Commissioner Larry Rogers, Jr., Cook County Board of Review.