I started with the Cook County Public Defender’s office in February of 1995. First assigned to Child Protection for a whole month (lucky me!) then shipped off to First Municipal. I stayed in First Muni, working the Branch Courts, Domestic Violence and the Jury room until 2000. I then made the move to 26th Street where I stayed until 2013. Currently I am assigned to Markham (and I like parentheses).
In my personal life, I am married to Julie Willis (nee Hill) also a public defender. I am the product of a proud union family as my parents were lifelong union members. I walked the picket lines with both. I am an Elder at my church, and have been for 10 years, prior to that I was a trustee (I’m a churchy guy).
I started working with the union while in First Muni as a steward there and for a time while at 26th. I handled grievances for promotions, involuntary transfers and disciplinary actions. I remember when we actually had to stage a walkout for the administration to understand our concerns. In my 21 years in the Office, I’ve seen how four different administrations act in regards to what they perceive as problems and react to what we know are problems.
I am running because we are in a position where a new administration seems to believes that they can dictate what is to happen without discussion. This happens whenever there is change and our response, as a union, as a collective voice, will either let them do as they will or force them to work with us and not against us. The practice of law is an art form and we are all artists, with different ways to reach that same goal — what is best for our client.
I am running to be one of those voices that needs to stand firm and speak loudly on our behalf. I ask for your support.
Be Bold and Stay Strong,
Arthur ‘Wes’ Willis
That Justice is a blind goddess is a thing to which we Black are wise;
Her bandage hides two festering sores that once perhaps were eyes.