Pat Quinn, candidate for Attorney General
I believe the Attorney General should be the lawyer for the people of Illinois. With Donald Trump in the White House, this role has never been more important. State attorneys general across the nation are the last line of defense against Trump’s unconstitutional policies and conduct.
Illinois needs a strong Attorney General to protect the rights of consumers, workers, taxpayers, teachers, students, veterans, and voters.
The Illinois Attorney General must promote integrity in state and local government. As Governor, I tightened ethical standards of elected officials, state employees, and lobbyists; fought for and signed the strongest campaign finance reform legislation in Illinois history; strengthened the Freedom of Information Act and vetoed efforts to weaken disclosure rules; and instituted new whistleblower protections.
As Governor, I signed legislation to bring the benefits of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act to Illinois. The legislation dramatically expanded healthcare coverage to hundreds of thousands of Illinois residents and also brought $12 billion of federal funding to the state.
As Attorney General, I will protect the Affordable Care Act from encroachment by Trump and his allies. I will hold accountable pharmaceutical companies and others who are responsible for the opioid epidemic which is harming families across Illinois.
As Attorney General, I will be a zealous advocate for Illinois consumers. I will protect Illinois consumers against utilities, insurance companies, banks, drug companies, and platform monopolies that treat their customers unfairly.
In 1983, I spearheaded the creation of the Citizens Utility Board, which is Illinois’ largest consumer organization. As Attorney General, I will stand up to the policies and practices of utilities that take advantage of residential and business customers.
In addition, the Attorney General must stand up for the environment, especially when the federal government is shirking its responsibility for clean water and clean air. Article XI of the Illinois Constitution establishes the fundamental right of every person to a healthful environment.
As Governor, I launched a $2 billion Clean Water Initiative to protect our drinking water, and I served as Chairman of the Great Lakes Commission consisting of eight states and two Canadian provinces. As Governor, I emphasized sustainability in all my decisions and greatly advanced renewable energy and energy efficiency.
I will defend the #1 economic right – the right to a job. It is the best way to fight crime, keep families together, and build a stable society. As Governor, I signed Illinois Jobs Now!, the largest investment in job creation in state history.
As Attorney General, I will work to increase the minimum wage and protect the rights of workers, including the right to bargain collectively. I will protect workers from wage theft, pregnancy discrimination, misclassification, and unfair practices by employers.
Together, Bruce Rauner and Donald Trump are launching an all-out attack on public employee unions and their members. They seek to end collective bargaining as we know it by upending decades of U.S. Supreme Court precedent. I strongly support the amicus brief filed by state attorneys general before the U.S. Supreme Court opposing this brazen attack on everyday people and their unions.
As Attorney General, I will also be a leader on criminal justice reform. Mass incarceration, wrongful convictions, and unequal justice should be a concern of all Illinois residents. As Governor, to reduce a backlog of clemency requests going back many years, I acted on 4,928 clemency petitions. I granted 1,795 petitions (36.4%), more than any Governor in Illinois history.
I also issued an administrative order and later signed legislation to “Ban the Box,” prohibiting private employers and employment agencies from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history until the applicant is determined to be qualified for the job, helping ex-offenders secure employment and become productive members of society.
Everyone has a fundamental right to be protected from discrimination and harassment. As Governor, I signed landmark legislation requiring schools to implement policies to combat bullying (including cyberbullying), and signed legislation to fight against human trafficking. I strongly believe that there is a fundamental, constitutional right to privacy.
As Attorney General, I will use the tools available to me to challenge unlawful discrimination, including on the basis of race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, or other protected classes.
Particularly during this time when we have a President and a Cabinet who are working to undermine public education, worker rights, consumer rights, immigrant rights, access to healthcare, and the environment, it is essential for the Illinois Attorney General to stand up for the public interest.