Salzberg insists that bringing back jobs will curb gun violence
Gun violence has plagued Illinois, with a reported 3,261 shooting victims in Chicago alone to date in 2016.
Recently, a shooting at the University of Illinois left one young man dead and five others injured. The violence was even mentioned during the first presidential debate by Donald Trump.
Like most residents of the state, Benjamin Salzberg, the Republican candidate for the state Senate seat in District 29, is saddened by the loss of life and reckless violence. He found it immensely troublesome and believes a solution is not about gun control but about resolving on the root cause of the problem.
The focus should be on culture, he asserted.
“We have to focus on how we can create a shift back to our norm and our culture,” Salzberg told the Lake County Gazette. “We are creating a very poor culture. The culture has shifted.”
The problem, Salzberg insisted, is that opportunities such as employment and education are being taken away in areas of need.
“There is a direct correlation for an area of high unemployment -- companies moving away, schools closing, people who no longer can afford a roof over their heads, (as well as) unfortunate areas that are a ridden by poverty or lack of industrialization -- and crime rates going up,” Salzberg said. “It’s not surprising that we see this.”
His solution is a simple one: bring back hope to those communities.
“In order to attack the problem and get us on track right away, we need to increase jobs and employment and help these schools to get people working,” Salzberg said. “That is how we can create control on guns because without understanding what needs to be done, no restriction can be put into gun control.”
Bringing back jobs to Illinois is easier said than done. The state has been overwhelmed with other problems such as its massive pension debt, the ever-growing bill backlog, and increasingly high property taxes that have driven residents away.
“Illinois has the largest debt in the country and we have the largest taxes, so of course we are going to have the highest crime rates,” Salzberg said. “You are going to see an increase on gun issues and situations because of our shift in culture. The question is what are we doing to help this situation and how are we going to turn this around?”
Salzberg concluded that to bring back companies, the state has to change its relationships with businesses. The current system doesn’t work.
“No matter what my opponent says, or (House Speaker Mike) Madigan says or (Senate leader John) Cullerton says…what they are doing now doesn’t work,” Salzberg said. “We know we what we have right now. More restrictions will not allow the people to come back. Whatever they have put in place has not worked. It didn’t work four years ago and it’s not going to work for four more years or even two more years. We are in the same spot. To change things here in Illinois, we need people like me to problem solve the root causes.”