University of Chicago Democrats host Attorney General Forum

Illinois Attorney General candidate and State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-13) speaks as other candidates, Renato Mariotti, COPA Chief Sharon Fairley, Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering’s spokeswoman and Attorney Aaron Goldstein listen, Jan. 8, during a forum sponsored by the Cook County Bar Association at the Northeastern Illinois University Jacob H. Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies, 700 E. Oakwood Blvd. – Spencer Bibbs

Staff Writer

Hyde Park’s State Senator Kwame Raoul told University of Chicago Democrats and the College Democrats of Illinois that when it comes to police reform, it really hits close to home.

“It’s no secret to me that we had this problem,” Raoul said about police accountability.

“That’s why I created the legislature’s torture inquiry commission.” Raoul said at a candidates forum for the state’s Attorney General race held Jan. 8, that in the past, both he and his son have both faced verbal abuse from Chicago Police Officers near his home.

His remarks were made at a candidates Forum held by the College Democrats at the Unitarian Church, 5650 S. Woodlawn Ave.

Candidates who attended the event, which was moderated by NBC 5 News Political Reporter Mary Ann Ahern, also included , Federal Prosecutor Scott Drury, Assistant Attorney General and Federal Prosecutor Sharon Fairley, Attorney Aaron Goldstein, Federal Prosecutor Renato Mariotti, Former Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and Attorney Jesse Ruiz.

Mayor of Highland Park Nancy Rotering did not attend the forum but delivered a statement through a spokesperson. The 2018 Primary Election for Illinois Attorney General that will take place on March 20.

During the event, each candidate addressed questions on the legalization of marijuana, the Quincy Veterans’ Home Legionnaires’ disease outbreak, the possible rescission of Illinois sanctuary state-federal funding, police reform, and sexual harassment.

When asked about sexual harassment in the workplace in the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, Mariotti expressed his concern with sexual harassers writing the legislation.

In reference to Springfield gaining a reputation as a “frat house,” Mariotti said, “A frat house suggests people are getting drunk and having a party. But sexual assault is not a party, it’s a frickin’ crime.”

Quinn and Ruiz and the other candidates agreed that there is a need for an attorney general who would support the voice of the people over the needs of politicians.

“At some point the Illinois government became more about the politicians than it did about the people, and that absolutely needs to change,” Drury said.

“I have only represented the citizens of Illinois,” Fairley said about her service to people throughout her legal career. “Not corporate interests, the citizens.”

Earlier in the discussion, all of the candidates denounced the actions of the Trump administration and said they favored progressive policy.

In his closing remarks Aaron Goldstein circled back to this topic and said, “Who would have ever thought that after the first African-American president, we would have a Nazi in the White House?”

When it came to the question’s on the legalization of marijuana, the Quincy Veterans’ Home Legionnaires’ disease outbreak, and the possible rescission of Illinois sanctuary state-federal funding, there was a general agreement among the candidates on the Democratic position on these issues.