By AARON GETTINGER
An Illinois State Senate resolution thanking Sen. Kwame Raoul, who will end his service to the 13th District mid-term to take over as state attorney general, neatly summarizes the Drexel Square political figure’s standing in the annals of Illinois politics.
“Sen. Kwame Raoul was told he had big shoes to fill when he was appointed to the Senate seat vacated by then-Sen. Barack Obama in 2004, but he proved quickly that he was not the ‘next’ Barack Obama but rather the first Kwame Raoul,” the resolution began.
The resolution lauds Raoul as a negotiator “willing to work across the aisle” as well as “a fighter who never shied away from a difficult issue,” a champion of his district and of “criminal justice reform, stopping gun violence, workers’ rights and access to affordable health care.”
It lists Illinois’ abolition of the death penalty, gun control legislation, the police body camera mandate, the Sexual Assault Survivor’s Bill of Rights, the Illinois Voting Rights Act and 2011 reforms of workers’ compensation law among his accomplishments.
Raoul will serve in the Senate through the end-of-year veto session. He will need to resign before he is sworn in as Illinois Attorney General on Jan. 14.
After Raoul leaves the Senate, state law requires that “the vacancy shall be filled within 30 days be appointment of the legislative or representative committee of that legislative or representative district of the political party of which the incumbent was a candidate at the time of his election” — that is, the Democratic committeemen in the 13th District.