Jones vs. Tatum

by  Assistant Editor

Running for State Representative for the 26th District is incumbent Lovanna Jones, in office since 1987, and Ranoule Tatum, a long time entrepreneur and community service worker.

Ranoule Tatum, top, is challenging State Rep. Lovanna Jones for her 26th District seat. Photos by Beauty Turner

RJ recently interviewed State Representative Lovanna Jones.

RJ: Many of your constituents are worried about the public schools that are closing in your boundaries. What do you plan to do to address that?

LJ: I’m very upset with [CPS CEO]Arne Duncan. I don’t understand why some schools get better treatment then others; after all, they all use our tax dollars. They need to restructure the money and divide it evenly to all of the schools.

RJ: Many CHA public housing high rises has fell prey to the wrecking ball and a lot of public housing residents has been displaced. Do you have any plans to address this issue?

LJ: The thing about this is that the people didn’t receive the correct information – some didn’t receive no information,” Jones said. “Many people that live in the suburbs didn’t want public housing residents living there they didn’t have resources to help them.”

Many ex-offenders are due to re-enter our communities. How do you plan to address their issues such as housing and jobs?

“The Governor has a re-entry program which is not worth a dime; if the federal, state and city don’t hire the ex-offender, how can they expect the little guy at the bottom to do what they won’t even do,” Jones said. “There are ex-offenders that have [committed] non-violent crimes…emergency housing services are needed to help them as well as the other ex-felons.”

Any concluding thoughts?

“I think that our readers need to be educated on what each officials does – such as an alderman, senator, and congressman. Then they can hold each one of them responsible,” Jones said.

RJ also interviewed Ranoule Tatum.

Why should the people in the district vote for you?

“Because I have a strong background in education as a classroom teacher and working in specialized programs to address the specific needs of our children,” Tatum said. “We need to look at education versus criminalization”

Lately in Chicago Mayor Daley is closing schools. If you became a state representative what would you do about that?

“One thing that I’m beginning to notice about CPS is that all the schools that are being affected are south of Madison street in the African American community; only one is north of Madison Street,” Tatum said. “With the regentrification we know that a lot of these schools are going to fall in the hands of other people and not African Americans.”

“When I get into office I plan on getting together with other legislators…that represent areas that are being affected by school closing [so] that we can get together to create a block…so that our children can benefit,” Tatum added.

In this district a lot of public housing residents have been displaced as a result of the CHA’s Plan for Transformation. What would you do in order to address this issue?

“That’s only a clever word that they use, a plan for transformation, but what they are doing is resembling a plan for transplantation – you taking the plant out of one pot and so called putting it into a better pot [but] the people are the same plant,” Tatum said. “The plants are not changing; the people are the same plant. The people are not changing; only the locations are supposed to be changing.”

“That’s a Federal [issue]. It’s going to require not only myself as a state legislator to address this issue but other legislators that have CHA residents in their district,” Tatum said.

CHA said that their plan is working. Do you agree?

“I do have some first-hand experience that it is working for some of the residents but not all because some of the people are getting lost in the shuffle,” Tatum said.

Many ex-offenders are supposed to re-enter our communities very soon. What do you plan to do to help them?

“I have been involved for well over 12 years…in a federal program for people transitioning back,” Tatum said. “If they didn’t get any treatment in the penitentiary then they definitely need supportive services.”

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