Activist Tio Hardiman Challenges U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush for Congress

Norman Parish | 9/16/2015, 12:43 p.m.
Saying it is time for new leadership, activist Tio Hardiman is challenging U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush for his 1st Congressional ...
Activist Tio Hardiman is challenging U.S.Rep. Bobby Rush (Dist.-1st) for Congress. Photo by Norman Parish

Saying it is time for new leadership, activist Tio Hardiman is challenging U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush for his 1st Congressional District seat in Illinois.

Hardiman, an unsuccessful gubernatorial candidate and former director of the antiviolence group CeaseFire Chicago, said he believes it is time for a newcomer to replace Rush, who has been in office since 1993.

Hardiman also criticized Rush for his past support of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

“I think a lot of people are upset with Bobby because he endorsed Rahm Emanuel,” Hardiman said. “Emanuel got lucky because he had a lot of these sell out preachers, sell out politicians backing him.”

Hardiman said the congressional district and the rest of the nation is still plagued with issues like high medicine costs, high crime, and high tension between police and African Americans.

Hardiman said he would attempt to work with pharmaceutical companies to provide reduced medicine costs for seniors.

Hardiman, a 52-year-old who has made headlines for gang intervention programs, said he wants to tighten up laws allowing weapon sales at gun shows and establish mandatory minimums for adults with illegal guns.

He also wants to provide police with more resources, such as insuring they have state of the art technology to fight crime. At the same time, he wants all officers to have body cameras to reduce brutality cases.

“It is just a small percentage of officers involved in police brutality,” Hardiman said. “It should not define the entire police department.”

In 2013, Hardiman was fired from the anti-violence group CeaseFire after his wife accused him of beating her. Later, she dropped the charges.

“I would not have run for office if I put my hands on my wife,” said Hardiman, who added that the incident involved an argument and the two are now back together.

Hardiman, of west suburban Hillside, said he plans to move into the district if he wins.

Hardiman, the executive director for Violence Interrupters NFP, said he was reared in the 1st Congressional district.

Hardiman received 28 percent of the vote in his losing bid against then governor Pat Quinn in the Democratic primary race for governor in 2014.

Despite repeated phone calls, Rush could not be reached for comment by Chicago Citizen Newspaper deadline.

Over the weekend, Rush was the subject of a Chicago Sun-Times/ Better Government Association investigation that reported he had a family member who for years worked for his church but was paid by a campaign supporter and friend in what could be a violation of congressional ethics rules.

In the news story Rush declined requests for an interview, saying: “This is nothing more than a widespread scandalous, scurrilous witch hunt. I will not participate in it in any form whatsoever. I have always lived up to the best of my abilities to the high standards of the ethics committee. That’s it.”