Reporting Jay Levine
(CBS) – U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk on Thursday took his much-anticipated tour of Chicago’s troubled Englewood neighborhood with his congressional colleague, Bobby Rush.
While the two appeared unified in their support of the South Side area, they disagreed over the fundamental way to turn things around there.
Kirk says rampant violence must be quashed before businesses will feel comfortable locating there.
“I don’t see, with the kind of headlines we’ve been getting, how we can attract a significant investment,” Kirk tells CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine.
Congressman Rush says: Bring on the jobs and watch the change happen.
“The people suffer from disinvestment, and I think (Kirk) has seen that,” Rush said.
Shortly before the tour began, a man was shot in the buttocks a block from a school, and the gunman ran through the playground at lunchtime.
Rush says that’s life in Englewood.
“It’s not a shock. This happens whether or not I’m in the neighborhood, whether or not Sen. Kirk is in the neighborhood,” he says.
The two federal lawmakers say they will team up on legislation that would provide tax breaks for investment in blighted areas. Community activists say that would have an immediate impact.
Earlier this year, Rush criticized Kirk when the senator proposed mass arrests for members of the Gangster Disciples in the Chicago area and using $30 million to prosecute them.
Rush said Kirk is out of touch and suggested the millions could be better spent on job creation.
The two later met and struck a conciliatory note, with Kirk accepting an invitation to visit Englewood in Rush’s district.