Fighting for Progressive Solutions
Standing Up to the Powerful Interests
As Attorney General, I will take on the big banks, corporations, and the right-wing agenda of Donald Trump. In these critical times Illinois needs an Attorney General that will stand with the people and be proactive to fight back against the assault on our rights that’s being pushed in Washington. My campaign is about defending the rights and interests of the people, and not those of big-business, big-money or the interests of the politically connected in Illinois. I will fight the corruption and cronyism that distorts our democracy in state and local governments. I am running as the Defender of the People of Illinois, and will take bold actions and enact a real, progressive Attorney General agenda.
Criminal Justice Reform
Mass incarceration benefits no one. Many of the people who are in prison are serving their sentence for a non-violent, typically drug-related offense. We must treat the root causes of these crimes like drug addiction, mental health, income inequality, a lack of opportunity and education funding.. Someone who is incarcerated for a non-violent offense comes out of prison not rehabilitated, but with a record and even more likely to fall back into criminal behavior than before. Meanwhile, taxpayers have spent millions of dollars to house inmates while feeling no safer than they were before. We must reduce the prison population by focusing on deferment programs, rehabilitation, and mental health and addiction treatment.
The so-called “drug war” has been one of the worst domestic policies in the last 50 years. We have not reduced the use of drugs while creating a black market that funds street gangs so that they can purchase guns. Further, the drug war has been administered in a way that discriminates against African-Americans, Latinos and the poor. We must legalize marijuana and treat drug addiction as a mental health issue and not a criminal one. The opioid crisis has shown that drug addiction hits all communities throughout our state. We must focus on the drug companies that are pushing highly addictive products and not the individuals who have become addicted to these drugs.
The cash bail system is not only unfair but harmful to the taxpayers of the state. When an individual cannot make it out of jail because they cannot post a small amount of money for a nonviolent crime, we all suffer. The individual in jail will most likely will lose their job, their children will be without a parent and may have to go to foster care, the community loses a taxpayer and all of us pay for their incarceration. Those who are in custody are more likely to plead guilty, which leads to further unfairness in a system that already discriminates against the poor. We must eliminate the cash bail system throughout the state so that those who are not a flight risk or a danger to the community are not sitting in jail waiting for their day in court.
My entire career has been devoted to criminal justice and civil rights. I will be a strong advocate for police reform. The police play a vital role in our community and we must trust that they are there to serve and protect. However, long before the recent news of police shootings, there were far too many abuses by the police against the residents of the state. In order to ensure we improve, we must have a federal monitor of the Chicago Police Department. I am the only Attorney General candidate advocating for a consent decree that gives the community enforcement power and a voice as part of a consent decree. It is only when the community is truly involved that we will have police reform. As Attorney General, I will monitor the consent decree to ensure the police are protecting our communities and our civil rights.
Police reform is not just a problem in Chicago, as Attorney General, I will use my power to stop abuses by the people of the people anywhere throughout the state.
Holding Politicians Accountable
If we do not have faith in our government, our democracy loses. Nothing has been done to address the corruption that goes on every day. We should have a government that works for us and not powerful interests. As Attorney General, I will form a Public Integrity Bureau to investigate corruption. I will advocate that the office has more power to prosecute corrupt government officials and will work with local and federal prosecutors to stop corruption in its many forms. One example of corruption is our property tax system, which is incredibly unfair. While rich insiders get their property taxes reduced, everyday homeowners and renters are paying more; Privatization of city and state services has opened the door to more corruption. As Attorney General, I will be a strong advocate against privatization and will make sure that we root out corruption in those contracts. The way we select our judges and stewards of our justice system is another example of corruption; judicial candidates should not have to make a significant contribution to be endorsed by the party.
Term Limits and Campaign Finance Reform
Protecting the Environment
I wanted to become a Public Defender because I knew that the criminal justice system oppressed African-Americans, Latinos, and the poor. I believe the right to counsel aren’t just some words on a piece of paper, but a moral contract that must be lived out every day. And, I have a fundamental belief in the human dignity of everyone. You can’t take on the odds, the daily disparagements and the utter hopelessness of being a public defense attorney, without core values so strong that they cannot be relinquished.
Our country and state have a sad history of racism that still lives with us today. As Attorney General, I will form a racial justice division that will examine ways to end all forms of racial discrimination and move toward a more just society. I will be vigilant in attacking racism wherever it appears beyond just the criminal justice system and not just in obvious cases. I will investigate systemic racism in our funding structure, education, lending and beyond. I will be a champion for justice and stand up for all of us.
Protecting the Rights of Women
As Attorney General, I will investigate any claims of sexual harassment occurring in government. I will advocate for equal pay for women and will aggressively pursue cases of discrimination against women. I will ensure that proper funding for victim’s groups are maintained and the safety of battered women against gun violence. It is unhealthy to live in fear and this affects children the most, and this is where a bold Attorney General can make a difference by advocating for those who have no voice. By ensuring a woman’s right to counseling, therapy, legal services, shelter, and job training, we will provide survivors of domestic violence with the resources to successfully leave abusive relationships.
I will take on industries like healthcare and domestic service that employ large majorities of women to ensure equal pay and access to a living wage.
I am a strong pro-choice advocate and will do everything in my power as Attorney General to protect a women’s right to choose, and ensure that any attempts to weaken those rights are stopped.
Protecting the Rights of the LGBTQ Community
As Attorney General, I will advocate for better access to healthcare, work to end the homelessness that disproportionally affects LGBTQ, and fight for those unfairly treated by the criminal justice system. I will support efforts add protections for sexual orientation and gender identity in the Illinois State Constitution.
As Attorney General, I will be proactive to ensure diversity among my staff. I will mandate LGBTQ diversity and inclusion training for all AG employees, and advocate in Springfield that all state workers, police officers and prison staff also utilize such training. Illinois’ government should treat every citizen with the respect they deserve. Finally, I will support modernizing Illinois’ birth certificate laws so that they do not impose gender norms on LGBTQ families.
The federal government’s anti-immigrant policies will clearly set Illinois back while causing undue and unnecessary hardship for many people. As Attorney General, I will strongly defend Illinois against the federal government’s anti-immigration policies.
The gun industry and the NRA are not passive players. In addition to their lobbying and campaign funding activities—which hold our legislators hostage—they have been manipulating the hearts and minds of Americans for years, flooding the airwaves and internet with propaganda that encourages more gun purchases. They have been sophisticated in convincing people, incorrectly, that the Democrats are the adversaries who want to confiscate all guns and thereby abridge their Second Amendment rights.
In short, I am very supportive of reasonable gun regulation that will reduce the amount of gun violence and will make irresponsible gun owners accountable for their actions or inaction.
I believe that ordinary citizens should not have access to weapons of war and mass violence and that all people who purchase guns, in all venues including gun shows, must undergo and pass rigorous background checks and waiting periods. I also support the Gun Dealer Licensing Act requiring gun sellers to be licensed like any other business such as liquor stores, barber shops or nail salons.
As Attorney General, I will ensure that Illinois gun ownership data is well-maintained and coordinated so that people who should be denied guns can’t purchase them. I will enforce existing gun laws and promote new laws that restrict access to military-style weapons and accessories that are designed as “workarounds” to existing gun laws—such as bump stocks. I will also promote gun control efforts at the federal level, and work with attorneys general from other states to help create a level playing field from state to state. It defeats the purpose of having common sense gun laws when Illinois’ neighboring states have lenient gun laws and don’t require background checks at all points of purchase. The lack of a level playing field fosters the black market in guns and results in guns getting into the hands of people who shouldn’t have them.
Ironically, rather than helping our citizens, criminalization of marijuana has encouraged the development of a huge and chaotic black market, with its inevitable consequences of gang violence and harm to many innocent bystanders. For these reasons, and based on the experience of other states that have legalized marijuana, I believe it is time to legalize marijuana in Illinois. It should be regulated—based on clear scientific evidence—to ensure that legal pot does not create any significant health or public safety risks to the people of Illinois and that the marijuana industry is run fairly and lawfully.
As Attorney General, I will consult with attorneys general from states that have legalized marijuana to ensure that Illinois adopts best practices in the production, distribution and sales of marijuana, and that any tax revenue Illinois derives from the sale of marijuana is used for purposes that benefit all the people, not just the few who are politically connected.
Vouchers and Charter Schools