AG candidate Fairley touts uniqueness

EAST MOLINE — Sharon Fairley said she meets every requirement to win the Democratic nomination to be the next Illinois attorney general in the March 20 primary.

In a meeting with the Dispatch-Argus editorial board on Friday, Ms. Fairley said, if elected, she will fight for consumer protection, public safety, criminal justice reform, and play an active role in combating corruption.

“I have a very different set of personal and professional experiences that sets me apart,” Ms. Fairley said. “As the only black woman in the race, I was born into the Jim Crow era. I was a girl in the ‘60s during the race riots. I was a teenager in the ‘70s when the woman’s rights movement was getting off the ground. I started my professional life in the ‘80s when women were fighting for equality in the workplace.

“I’ve been standing up for myself my whole professional life. I’ve been standing up to bullies and bigots my whole life. I’m a fighter.”

Ms. Fairley, 57, graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University with her bachelor’s degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering. She earned an M.B.A. in marketing from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and her law degree from the University of Chicago.

“As a lawyer, I’ve dedicated my life to public service. I’ve always represented the citizens of Illinois. I have no interest in working for a law firm. For me, it’s about bringing justice and helping citizens.

“Consumer protection is a priority. It’s important to stand up for citizens who don’t have the resources to protect themselves.

“Since I’ve been on the campaign trail, the people of Illinois have just had it,” she said, noting the reputation for corruption within the state. “Now I think people are starting to wake up. We’ve had budget issues, people are leaving the state, and we’re risking losing representation in the 2020 census. We are going to start seeing that reflected in the way people vote.”

Ms. Fairley said she will seek statewide grand jury power across the state and advocate for greater transparency in government and faster response to Freedom of Information Act requests.

In a crowded field, Ms. Fairley said she is the most qualified candidate for the nomination.

“If you look at all the buckets you need to check for this job, I’m the only one who has them all. I

I have prosecutorial, complex litigation and administrative experience.

Ms. Fairley said she needs upwards of 250,000 votes to secure the nomination.

“I’ve been working hard to get the message out.”