Former CeaseFire director and gubernatorial candidate Tio Hardiman now has his eyes on Illinois’ U.S. senate seat.
Hardiman, 51, announced Friday that he’s forming an exploratory committee for a run against Republican incumbent, Sen. Mark Kirk, who’s up for reelection in 2016.
“I want to take on some of these federal issues that impact people in Illinois and across the nation, like passing a bill to increase the minimum wage,” Hardiman said, adding: “While I support the Second Amendment, if elected, I want to help put forth legislation to help pass the most strictest laws when it comes to illegal gun-trafficking, which needs to stop.”
A father of four, Hardiman led CeaseFire until 2013. Concerning the recent death of 14-year-old Endia Martin, who was fatally shot by another girl over a dispute involving a boy, Hardiman said, “It is indicative of what is going on in Chicago and throughout the U.S.
“A lot of violence is driven by violence, misinformation, taking advice from the wrong people, relationships; illegal guns. It’s a real sad situation because the lives of several people have been destroyed now,” Hardiman said. “Even the alleged suspect was an honor roll student who got caught up in something that was way beyond her, and then her uncle provided her with the gun — one of the worse decisions in the world. It should have ended up with a fight and not a killing.”
Hardiman and his running mate, lawyer and former assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Brunell Donald, lost in the March Democratic Primary for governor and lieutenant governor.
Gun control and job creation were among his issues in that race.
Hardiman was with CeaseFire, an anti-violence organization, from 1999 till his departure in ’13. He call’s the city’s current batch of violence, including the Martin shooting, a “big web of madness.”
“We have another child dead. Adults going to jail, a guy in a wheelchair on his way to prison for providing the young girl with the gun; and now you have family members about to lose their lives in one form or another. It is a tragedy that continues to happy,” Hardiman said.
“Unfortunately, these kinds of tragedies happen in Chicago,” he added. “The police cannot prevent all shootings or homicides because it is hard to police self-hatred. That is what you are dealing with. You cannot police self-hatred, and that is what that whole scenario was all about. People don’t see it because they are consumed by it, and they don’t recognize it as self-hatred.”
Hardiman’s only other run for political office was in this year’s governor’s race. He lost to Pat Quinn, garnering 28 percent of the vote.