Richard Boykin, a lobbyist with Barnes & Thornburg and Rep. Danny K. Davis’s former chief-of-staff, announced his candidacy to replace Earlean Collins as First District County Commissioner, which encompasses Maywood. His campaign issued the following press release:
With Cook County Jail in the backdrop, Oak Park resident Richard Boykin today announced his candidacy for First District County Commissioner. Present Commissioner Earlean Collins has announced she will not run for re-election in the March, 2014 primary.
Boykin, joined by U.S. Congressman Danny Davis (7th District), State Sen. Mattie Hunter (3rd District), Dr. Willie Wilson, Chairman of Chicago Baptist Institute, and Dr. Rashad Saafir, President of the Bobby E. Wright Comprehensive Behavioral Health Center, also announced an aggressive grassroots initiative to engage and mobilize voters to support an referendum for increased funding for mental health services in the State of Illinois. That referendum item would be on the November, 2014 ballot for Cook County residents.
“Prioritizing mental health funding is a critical need especially in Cook County,” declared Boykin. “Our communities and our families are suffering severely due to closed mental health treatment centers and hospitals, escalating medical costs, coupled with less than adequate mental health services. For our state, county and communities to become healthy requires significantly increasing mental health funding.”
Illinois ranks third among states with the highest cuts in mental health services, totaling over $100 million. Only California ($587 million) and New York ($132 million) have experienced more significant reductions. According to the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, the recession has taken its toll on state mental health budgets across the country. From 2009 to 2012, states cut their mental health budgets by approximately $4.25 billion.
“The issues of mental illness are real and persistent and all too often go untreated,” Congressman Davis stated. “The fact that the Cook County jail represents the largest mental health institution in the country is shameful. We look forward to raising this issue via the advisory referendum and working with all stakeholders to ensure that people with mental illness receive treatment,” the congressman concluded.
Mental Health Referendum Add One
Rashaad Saafir, CEO/President of Bobby E. Wright Comprehensive Behavioral Health Center, greatly supports a referendum on mental health. “I am in support of all efforts in improving mental healthcare, Saafir continued.. “Funding cuts and closure of more than half of the City’s Behavioral Agencies/Clinics has caused devastating effects on the lives of people, who struggle with day to day factors such as homelessness, substance abuse, depression and many other mental illnesses.’ We have high hopes that the continued efforts will restore the quality care in mental healthcare,” he concluded”
Boykin served as Chief of Staff to Congressman Davis for nine years after being his legislative director. Presently he is a partner in the Chicago and Washington D.C. offices of Barnes & Thornburg For additional information, visit www.boykinforcookcounty.com. VFP