By JEFFREY BISHKU-AYKUL
Hyde Park resident and attorney Brunell Donald is running for lieutenant governor in this year’s Democratic primary, joining the ticket of gubernatorial challenger Tio Hardiman, former director of violence prevention non-profit CeaseFire.
Donald formerly served as a prosecutor and public defender for Cook County. The Northern Illinois University and John Marshall Law School graduate moved to Hyde Park in July 2010, where her husband Rashid Kyei soon afterwards joined her. Kyei, who met Donald online while residing in his native Ghana, currently serves as Hardiman’s deputy campaign director.
“I love Hyde Park,” Donald said. “I love the multiculturalism. I love the feel of it.”
“It took me some time to get where I am,” added Donald, whose mother was stabbed to death when she was 10. After growing up under foster care, Donald spent time homeless while attending college.
“I lived in a lot of people’s homes that I didn’t know,” Donald said. “I know what it’s like to be hungry at night. I know what’s it’s like not to have money – broke. But I still had the dream, the desire to become a lawyer, so that fed me, and it kept me going.”
Hardiman’s reputation remains sullied by domestic abuse charges brought by his wife last summer and an arrest, which led CeaseFire to drop him. His wife later dropped the charges and Donald said she believes they were untrue.
His campaign is touting an ambitious platform that includes raising the minimum wage, requiring finger prints for concealed carry applications and funding the state’s pension fund by building up to five new casinos.
Donald emphasized job creation and vocational options for students who aren’t college bound. She also said she supports an elected school board.
Donald, who says she and Hardiman will win come next week, blasted Gov. Pat Quinn for failing the poor and working class.
“Every mismanagement of the state falls on the poor and the working class people to hold the state up. Without the poor and the working class, this state would be destroyed already,” Donald said.
She added, “We don’t have a governor with a backbone for the poor and the working class.”