State Senator Kwame Raoul, the Democrat seeking Illinoisans’ votes in the race for Attorney General, stopped by the Morning Shift to field listeners’ questions about his top priorities and plans for the Attorney General’s office.
On what his top priorities would be as AG
Normally don’t like to pit one priority versus another, the duties of the AG’s office is vast. But let me say the attorney general’s office has changed dramatically from just four years ago as a result of what’s coming down from Washington. So one of the top priorities for me is to engage with other attorneys general throughout the country to make sure that we protect access to healthcare, protect a woman’s right to choose, protect against rollbacks on environmental protections, prevent 3-D [printed] weapons from being mass produced, the blueprints are not mass disseminated, that children are not taken away from their parents unjustly — these are all many issues that attorneys general have engaged in taking on the Trump Administration.
On tackling the root of gun violence in Chicago
We can’t gun law our way out of this gun violence problem. I spoke to Moms Demand Action about five years ago and they asked me if there was one thing you’d ask us to focus on, what would it be? I said “Get to know the shooter. Because i know of nobody that came out of the womb with a gun in their hands and an attitude that they wanted to take down their neighbor. We have to make sure we find out what happens in the course of one’s life that turns one into a shooter. And I think that the enduring trauma of normalized violence is one of those elements. We have to make sure that we get the treatment back into the neighborhoods of high violence. The attorney general’s office is engaged in victim services—it’s highly focused on domestic violence and sexual assault and other violent crimes, focusing on direct victims of crime.
On continuing Lisa Madigan’s work with the consent decree
I started working on law enforcement reform way before there was revelation of a video — it didn’t take a video to tell me that we needed to make some changes, not only in the city of Chicago but throughout the state. I championed legislation to create the Torture Inquiry Commission after the revelation of John Burge torturing people into confessions of crimes they had not committed. [..] I am glad and happy that Lisa Madigan stepped up where Jeff Sessions stepped away, and I will certainly grab that torch and continue to advocate for reforms, not only in CPD but in other police departments as well.
On rooting out corruption in politics
Corruption needs to be rooted out wherever it exists, you shouldn’t go fishing for it. Gov. Rauner, when he gave my opponent a million dollars, said he’s giving it to her so she can prosecute Mike Madigan, and when he was asked for what, he said “I don’t know, I hope he committed a crime.” You shouldn’t be utilizing the Attorney General’s office to go after your political opponent. [Editor’s note: Gov. Rauner’s exact quote was “Clearly he’s been doing unethical things. I hope he’s been doing something illegal and I hope he gets prosecuted.”]
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity. Click the “play” button to listen to the entire interview.