Chicago Sun-Times
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Rep. Bobby Rush to meet with Sen. Kirk over Kirk Gangster Disciple arrest plan

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WASHINGTON--Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) will meet Tuesday here in the wake of Rush's stinging criticism of Kirk's call for mass arrests of 18,000 Gangster Disciples, a Rush spokesman said Monday.

Kirk last week said he will seek $30 million from Congress to bankroll the project. Rush wants to discuss channeling more money to youth unemployment. Rush will also tell Kirk that "he is willing to show him around his district," spokesman Debra Johnson told the Sun-Times. Johnson said Rush sought the meeting with Kirk.

Later on Tuesday, in a separate meeting, Rush will discuss gun violence with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). Rush also requested the Durbin meeting, Johnson said.

The Sun-Times analysis of the formidable hurdles Kirk must clear to implement his plan is HERE.

Excerpt from analysis: "Before going public with his plan, which would overwhelmingly affect African-American gang members, Kirk did not seek any buy-in from the three Illinois members of Congress who are black and whose districts would likely be most affected by the sweep.

The three Democrats -- Rep. Bobby Rush, Rep. Danny Davis and Rep. Robin Kelly -- are all critical of Kirk's idea.

On Friday, Davis told the Sun-Times that Kirk's plan is the "most ridiculous thing I have ever heard of in my life. I am totally amazed that something like this could come out of the senator's office." Davis said he "would have loved to have had some discussions" with Kirk to offer his input before the senator started talking about it in public.

Kelly told the Sun-Times on Friday, "While I agree with Sen. Kirk that we need to do more to crack down on gangs and other violent criminals, I don't think his plan is viable. Ending gun violence requires a more nuanced approach that includes creating access to jobs and job training, mental health counseling, mentoring and other social and community supports that offer young people alternatives to violence. It also requires passing commonsense gun control measures that keep guns out of the wrong hands."

Rush was the first to blast Kirk's plan, telling the Sun-Times on Wednesday that it was a "headline-grabbing, empty, simplistic" and "upper-middle-class, elitist white boy solution to a problem he knows nothing about."

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on June 3, 2013 4:40 PM.

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