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State Sen. Kwame Raoul Announces Illinois AG Run, Vows to Defy Trump on Immigration if Elected

Illinois Sen. Raoul, running for State Attorney General
Illinois State Senator Kwame Raoul - running for State Attorney General

Illinois State Sen. Kwame Raoul announced Wednesday that he is running for Illinois attorney general in 2018 after Attorney General Lisa Madigan said last week that she would not seek a fifth term.

Sen. Raoul is a Democrat representing the city of Chicago.

Raoul, 52, is a former Cook County Assistant Prosecutor who won his state senate seat in 2004 filling the vacant seat left by President Barack Obama when the former president ran for the U.S Senate.

In Illinois State Senate, Raoul has notable accomplishments on criminal justice reform including sponsoring legislation to abolish the death penalty.

The Chicago native and son of Haitian immigrants said he would fight President Donald Trump on immigration issues should he be elected as the state’s top law enforcement official.

“I will not use the attorney general’s office to carry out the policies of this president,” Raoul said of Trump. “And I value the contributions that immigrants can make.”

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Shortly after his announcement, Raoul took a shot at Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, whose is financially backing the Republican candidate for attorney general, Erika Harold.

In a comment on the Madigan backlash to The Chicago Sun-Times, he said, “the backlash Madigan has undergone because of her father, Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan, is insulting to her record of accomplishments.”

“There’s nothing wrong with someone who’s a child of an elected official seeking out their elected office,” Raoul said.

“I think the focus that the governor and others have put on this, dragging names through the mud instead of policy, instead of getting things done, while we have had an almost three-year impasse on the budget is shameful. We should not be talking about individuals. We should be talking about issues and getting this done on behalf of taxpayers.”

Raoul said he spoke with Lisa Madigan over the phone last week after her decision to drop out from running for the state’s attorney general in 2018. Raoul said that Ms. Madigan is willing to talk about the functions of the office and offer him insight. “I appreciated that gesture,” Raoul said while noting he did not ask for her support or endorsement.

“I will not use the attorney general’s office to carry out the policies of this president,” Raoul said of Trump. “And I value the contributions that immigrants can make.”

On the first day of his campaign, the state senator was fighting back against criticism over his “temperament” on a WVON Radio interview on Tuesday, as well as comments he made to the State-Journal Register about Erika Harold.

Referring to Harold as “Miss America,” Raoul said he did not believe Madigan dropped out because of “any fear of Erika Harold.” Also, in the WVON Radio interview, Raoul and host Maze Jackson locked horns as Jackson repeatedly implored Raoul to “answer the question.”

“You are not going to tell me. All right. If you interrupt me, I’m going to check you on it,” Raoul said, eventually telling the WVON Radio host “If you want to have that type of conversation, Maze, there’s another place where we can have this kind of conversation.”

Both incidents had the Republican Attorneys General Association attacking Sen. Raoul, accusing him of “lacking the temperament and disposition” to be attorney general.

When asked about the comments, Raoul said “I am a fighter, and I think whomever we elect to be attorney general needs to be a fighter.” He added the two apologized to each other after the interview.

He said he also called co-host and former political reporter Charles Thomas on Tuesday: “We had a very pleasant exchange.”

Raoul said he would “rewind the tape” on his comment if he could. “I think Erika Harold has exceptional credentials. If I could rewind the tape and not make reference to that certainly I would, but I am ready to march onto a campaign, and if she is the nominee, I look forward to talking about the issues.”

Erica Harold is a Harvard-educated former Miss America and unsuccessful Downstate congressional candidate. She is receiving a bevy of Republican endorsements and is expected to gain substantial financial backing from Gov. Rauner and the Republican Party.

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Raoul pledged “to ensure that justice in Illinois is blind, never discriminating between city, suburban and Downstate, between brown, black and white or between rich and poor.”

“I have spent my entire professional life as an advocate,” Raoul said in a video announcing his run. “The attorney general’s office gives me a credible platform to do just that for the citizens throughout the state of Illinois.”

Raoul’s name was in the mix for a higher position for a year and he is the second Democrat to announce a run. Rep. Scott Drury, who had been running for governor, switched gears on Tuesday, becoming the first Democrat to announce a campaign for Attorney General.



Contributor, The Liberal Advocate News




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