Sharon Fairley announces candidacy for Illinois Attorney General

CHICAGO (October 10, 2017)--Former federal prosecutor and criminal justice reform expert Sharon Fairley announced her candidacy for Attorney General of Illinois on Tuesday, launching her campaign in the March 2018 Democratic primary.

Fairley is seeking the position after incumbent Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced last month she would not run again for the seat, which she has held since 2003. 

Fairley spent eight years as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois under the leadership of former U.S. Attorneys Patrick Fitzgerald and Zach Fardon. Most recently, she served as Chief Administrator of the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, an agency which she designed and built from the ground up in the aftermath of the release of video of the death of Laquan McDonald in 2015. Prior to her work at COPA, Fairley served as First Deputy and General Counsel to the City of Chicago Office of the Inspector General. 

“My experience--as a former federal prosecutor, and as a leader in criminal justice reform here in the City of Chicago--will allow me to provide that leadership as we work for progressive change in our justice system and in our communities,” said Fairley at a press conference announcing her campaign launch on Tuesday. 

Fairley said, as Attorney General, she’d focus on combating the unconstitutional attacks on civil rights, voting rights, immigrant communities and religious freedoms, among other areas. 

“Here in Illinois, our Attorney General must stand up against corruption and oppose the eroding of consumer protection and government accountability,” she added.

Fairley earned her law degree from the University of Chicago Law School. She graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University with a BS in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and holds an MBA in Marketing from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Fairley, who grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland, lives in Chicago’s Garfield Ridge community on the Southwest Side. She is the mother of two adult children.

If elected, Fairley would be the first African American woman to hold the Attorney General’s seat in Illinois history.