Renato Mariotti, candidate for Attorney General
The office of Attorney General is critical to the strength of Illinois and our nation. The mandate of the office is broad – the Attorney General is entrusted to protect consumers and small business owners, enforce environmental laws, shape policies for unfair competition and legislation to combat crime, advocate for victims of crimes, and ensure that all under-represented groups are given the equality demanded by the Constitution.
Throughout our nation’s history, Attorneys General have also been a counter-balance to the federal government. We saw examples of this during the Obama administration as Republican Attorneys General were successful in weakening President Obama’s policies around the environment, affordable health care, and ensuring fundamental fairness and equality to all. With Trump in office, Democrats have done well in standing up to him, but we need to do more. The importance of the Attorney General leading the way to protect the rights of the State and its people has only grown in importance.
In 2014, our state elected a Governor who believes that people who work for a living make too much money and he’s done everything in his power to advance an agenda that would hurt working families. In 2016, our nation elected a President who has undermined the rule of law and who has done everything he can to line the pockets of the rich at the expense of the people who are trying to make ends meet. So many of us are asking how we can protect our state, our nation, and their core values. Everyone can do their part, and Attorneys General are at the front lines of ensuring we remain a nation where the American Dream can be a reality for all of us. That’s why I’m running for Attorney General.
I grew up in an environment where I witnessed the American Dream every day. Neither of my parents went to college. My dad didn’t even graduate from high school. They both worked two jobs to help put me through school. My dad is still working as a cashier at Walmart, where he does not have the benefit of a union looking out for his interests. I want to fight for people like my parents. I want to fight for all of the hard working Illinoisans who want their own fair shot at the American Dream, in a system that is stacked against them.
There is always work to be done, but I never expected the threats to our values to be so severe. Now that we are confronting them, I know I have been preparing for this role for a long time. I cherished every opportunity my parents gave me, and tried to make it count. I defended clients in litigation for years against some of the toughest civil lawyers in the country. I have volunteered my time on behalf of the poor and on behalf of the environment. And I spent almost a decade as a federal prosecutor fighting to protect our society. I went after criminals who tried to abuse the system. I prosecuted and won against Wall Street. We got a conviction in the first case ever brought against a high-frequency trader. I put a bank robber in jail, and faced threats to my life. I am ready to take on any fight that is necessary – I have beaten Wall Street, I have beaten the bank robbers and I beat cancer. Now I want to fight for my state and its people.
The people of Illinois are facing horrible challenges. Not only are there threats to our values and our democracy, but we have fewer resources with which to defend them. Our representatives across the state have seen fit to increase your tax burden, but have given us less in return. I come from a world where those serving others are expected to give more and ask for less. Whether it was representing clients trying to operate on a shoe-string budget, volunteering my time for organizations with limited resources, or prosecuting criminals who sometimes seemed to have limitless means and the protection of special interests, I know what it means to get results and to get them with the resources you have.
Our state’s resources are being stretched to the breaking point. I will fight for the right resources and the right priorities. I will fight to restore faith in democratic process, to ensure a level playing field for businesses and workers, to ensure fundamental fairness and equality, and to create an environment where the talents of all Illinoisans can flourish. Our resources will not be spent on special interests, on undermining the rights of people, or on protecting a system designed for the ultra-wealthy where there is no economic justice or fairness for so many.
I will fight every day for the rights of the people of Illinois. I will investigate our election system and make sure we are doing everything possible to keep it secure and trusted. I will bring suits on behalf of everyone in the state when there are unlawful practices that affect many thousands of citizens. I will fight in court and in the legislature to protect our clean air and water. I will work to make Illinois a place where everyone is welcome and can succeed, whether you are a farmer or a small business owner, whether you are an artist or laborer, whether you have lived here for generations or are the child of an immigrant, and no matter your race, gender identity or sexual orientation. The civil society we have created over generations is priceless, and the Attorney General should fight every day to help it flourish and grow.
Many citizens have lost faith in where we are and in the ability of their elected representatives to get us moving in the right direction. We’re short on resources and the federal government isn’t doing its part to help. That’s why the Attorney General has to aggressively fight for all Illinoisans with a fierce urgency. I will do everything I can to stop the Trump and Rauner Administrations’ assault on working families, the poor, the sick and our communities of color. And when we take back Congress and the White House, I will be proactive in defending at the state level the progressive policies we put in to place.
There is an energy building throughout the country—a growing movement of citizens ready to fight back—and I have used my platform to build a large and enthusiastic base of support. I want my campaign to harness that energy and bring new people with new ideas into the political process.