Attorney General candidates debate as November election looms

By Timothy Michalik

Ahead of a highly-publicized Illinois State Attorney General election in November, Democratic nominee Kwame Raoul and Republican nominee Erika Harold, two staunchly divided candidates, agreed on two issues: legalizing marijuana sales and protecting immigrants from federal deportation—if state legislators pass those laws.

“If the state of Illinois passed a law legalizing marijuana, then it would absolutely be my job as the people’s lawyer for the state of Illinois to defend the constitutional authority of Illinois to enact that law,” Harold said.

However, Harold continued her attempts to link Raoul’s to corruption in her official campaign advertisements.

For example, she points to the 2014 bill, which Raoul and Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives Michael Madigan sponsored, focused on overhauling two of Chicago’s ailing pension funds, based on Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to reduce a multi-billion dollar pension shortfall. In this piece of legislation, Harold stated it would cut city workers’ benefits and would require both workers and the city to contribute more.

Also during the candidates’ debate, which took place Oct. 5 at Chicago’s Union League club, 65 W. Jackson St., they discussed Chicago venture capitalist and Democratic gubernatorial nominee J.B. Pritzker who has been accused of a scheme involving the removal of toilets from a property he owned.

Both candidates were asked whether the attorney general should be involved, as current attorney general Lisa Madigan had been in the Legionnaires disease at the Quincy Illinois Veteran’s Home.

When questioned about acting Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s decision to investigate a Legionnaires outbreak at the Veterans’ home in Quincy, Illinois, both Harold and Raoul said they do not have enough information about the incident to give an informed answer, however, they believe that something had gone awry.

“It is very appropriate for us to have an investigation about what happened and what we can learn in terms of being able to prevent things from occurring in the future,” Harold said. 

Raoul said there have been some disturbing events, such as the death of multiple veterans, that happened at the Quincy Veterans’ Home. “What we also know is that there was a cover up, and that’s very disturbing that that came from this administration,” he said.

The only real divisive moment occurred near the debate’s end, when the moderator asked both candidates whether they support Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination with Harold answering yes and Raoul, no

On the topics of sexual harassment and the #MeToo movement both candidates agreed that there were institutional issues in need of fixing, though Harold seemed to give a more specific answer.

“There’s the transparency issue — currently, if a legislator is found guilty, or has engaged in misconduct, that information may never be disclosed to the public. I believe the public should have the right to know, because that kind of accountability is essential to good government.”