The Daily Herald Editorial Board
The eight-way race for the Democratic nomination for Illinois attorney general is the poster child for a distinguished field of high achievers. In various combinations, the present and former job titles of the candidates include governor, state senator, state representative, mayor, former assistant attorney general (two), former federal prosecutor (three), public defender, state school board chairman and more.
All the candidates express similar positions on the issues in this race, and they're all positions im-portant to the citizens of Illinois -- among them government transparency, consumer safety, worker rights, civil rights, public health and gun violence. Indeed, a critical function of any attor-ney general will be to wisely marshal limited state resources to avoid being pulled in too many directions. At the same time, the next Illinois attorney general will particularly be expected to demonstrate an uncommon degree of independence, keeping in check a government that has earned a reputation for corruption and backroom dealing.
Fortunately, many of these candidates have demonstrated experience in taking on the leadership status quo in Illinois and show the fortitude to stand up to powerful interests wherever they may be. Two stand out, both former federal prosecutors.
State Rep. Scott Drury, of Highwood, has the distinction of being the only Democratic lawmaker to vote against Michael Madigan for House speaker, and he's been known in the legislature for his refusal to blindly promote the Madigan agenda, even famously helping block a Madigan-backed veto override that would have dramatically weakened the taxpayers' interests in labor negotiations.
Former assistant Illinois attorney general Sharon Fairley, of Chicago, brings an uncommonly broad range of legal and administrative experience. She was first deputy inspector general and general counsel for the Illinois Office of Inspector General. She was chief administrator of Chicago's Civilian Office of Police Accountability. She has been an outspoken critic of Madigan, particularly in his handling of sexual harassment claims in his office. She is a smart, driven, no-nonsense leader who would add to the gravitas of the attorney general's office and help safeguard the interests of Illinois cit-izens.
Also running are Cook County public defender Aaron Goldstein of Chicago; former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti; former Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn of Chicago; state Sen. Kwame Raoul of Chicago; two-term Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering; and former Illinois State Board of Education Chairman and Interim CEO of Chicago Public Schools, Jesse Ruiz of Chicago.
It's an impressive field of candidates with solid records of accomplishment in public and profes-sional affairs. Fairley's blend of investigative experience, regulatory oversight, determination and independence is particularly well-suited to the duties of the Illinois attorney general and she gets our endorsement.