Kwame Raoul to seek reelection next year

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Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, the former state senator for Hyde Park-Kenwood, has announced his bid for reelection in 2022, at the Aug. 18 Illinois Democratic County Chairs’ Association’s annual brunch in Springfield.

Raised in Hyde Park and educated at the University of Chicago Lab Schools, DePaul University and the Chicago-Kent College of Law, Raoul ran for City Council twice in the 1990s. He was appointed to the Illinois Senate in 2004 after Barack Obama’s election to the United States Senate. 

He won a scattershot primary for his current office in 2018 with 30.17% of the vote and the general election that November with 54.71% over Republican Erika Harold.

As attorney general, Raoul has worked in the office’s traditional roles like consumer protection. He has called for more regulation of alternative retail energy suppliers’ use of "deceptive practices" to sell contracts that lead to higher energy costs. In June, he sued a Delaware company that allegedly illegally polluted groundwater at a former coal plant site in downstate Vermillion County with improperly stored coal ash. 

Last year, with 47 other state attorneys general, he sued Facebook, arguing that the company uses illegal tactics to undercut competition in the social networking market; a judge threw out their suit in June, but they said they will appeal. In February, he got $19.8 million from consulting firm McKinsey for its role in the opioid epidemic in the first multistate settlement related to the epidemic.

In the immediate aftermath of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Raoul wrote to Congress with 17 other attorneys general asking for power to investigate practices of unconstitutional policing; then-U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions had stopped having the federal Department of Justice investigate local police departments in 2018.

During this year’s lame duck legislative session, he got his significant reform of the independent state board that oversees law enforcement training passed through the General Assembly and into law. The Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board now has discretion to decertify officers for delonies and significant misdemeanors.

"Unfortunately, it usually takes an incident that wakes up the nation for the legislature to work up the will to have serious discussion about reform," he told the Herald in February. "Otherwise, people don’t want to be characterized in any way to be anti-law enforcement. It’s otherwise challenging to have honest discussions about needed reforms unless there’s something that’s usually caught on some kind of tape to make people really reflect."

"It’s undeniable that racism exists and implicit bias, which are not necessarily synonymous. Because there are people who are not necessarily overt and malicious racists; in addition, there are others who unconsciously stereotype, and they carry out actions based on those unconscious stereotypes," he said. "Are they all like that when they come in the door? Some are. But I think there’s a real problem in what is tolerated."

In December, Raoul and 21 other Democratic attorneys general signed a legal brief successfully asking that the U.S. Supreme Court reject a lawsuit brought by the Texas attorney general to overturn the election of now-President Joe Biden.

Last month, Raoul’s office represented the Illinois State Board of Elections in filing a motion to dismiss a lawsuit by state legislative Republican leaders and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund on whether American Community Survey data instead of full census data, can be used to draw General Assembly districts, as was done this year.

In April, Raoul’s office fell victim to a ransomware attack after an audit in February found the office had not implemented adequate internal cybersecurity controls. Raoul has said his office is performing a comprehensive risk assessment.

Capitol News Illinois, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, contributed.

via Hyde Park Herald

August 19, 2021 at 05:37PM

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