|Member of the "Illinois Senate
from the 13th district
November 6, 2004
|Preceded by||"Barack Obama|
September 30, 1964 |
"Chicago, "Illinois, U.S.
|Education||"DePaul University ("BA)
"Illinois Institute of Technology ("JD)
Kwame Raoul (born September 30, 1964) is an American attorney and politician serving as a "Democratic member of the "Illinois Senate. He has represented the 13th district since 2004 -- he was appointed to fill the seat vacated by "Barack Obama, upon Obama's election to the U.S. Senate. He is the chair of the Illinois Senate's Redistricting Committee and the Senate's Pension & Investments Committee.
Raoul was born in Chicago to "Haitian immigrant parents Dr. Janin and Marie Therese Raoul. Raoul earned his bachelor's degree in "political science from "DePaul University and went on to receive his law degree from "Chicago-Kent College of Law.
Raoul was appointed on November 6, 2004 to fill the state Senate vacancy caused by the resignation of his predecessor, Barack Obama, who had just been elected to the "United States Senate.
Since his arrival in Springfield, Raoul has successfully advanced legislation promoting civil justice, early childhood education, domestic violence prevention and political reform. In his first year in the General Assembly, Raoul established a progressive agenda. His work led to the passage of laws expanding access to early voting in Illinois, and the state’s Low Income Energy Assistance Program and a crack down on the "Pay Day loan industry.
Raoul has sponsored a bill that would require grants distributed by Illinois State Board of Education to early childhood education and preschool programs to be used to improve and expand the quality of services. He has also backed legislation aimed at easing the reintegration of ex-offenders into the community. His legislation allows good conduct credit to be awarded to inmates who earn their high school diplomas or "GEDs, as well as inmates who participate in "substance abuse programs.
Raoul has championed legislation on criminal justice reform including the recent historic legislation that abolishes the death penalty and legislation creating the Torture Inquiry Commission. He also championed legislation aimed at breaking the code of silence by deterring intimidation of those who cooperate with "law enforcement officers.
Raoul has supported efforts to create and retain jobs in the State of Illinois including convention center reforms and a multibillion dollars capital bill. He has been the chief sponsor of legislation to extend the Economic Development for a "Growing Economy (EDGE) tax credit to companies in order to retain and create jobs in our state. He recently championed the effort to pass comprehensive workers compensation reform that will save Illinois employers in excess of half a billion dollars.
As chairman of the Senate’s Pension and Investment Committee, Sen. Raoul has fought hard for pension ethics reform and has led efforts to expand opportunities for minority and women-owned financial service firms and ridding the State’s pension systems of corruption. As chairman of the Senate’s Redistricting Committee, Sen. Raoul introduced legislation that created the Illinois Voting Rights Act to protect racial and language minorities in the legislative redistricting process. In addition, Raoul serves as Chair of the Judiciary Committee, Vice-Chair of the Criminal Law Committee and a member of the Executive, Gaming, Insurance and Public Health Committees.
Raoul was among the candidates "Illinois Governor "Rod Blagojevich considered to fill Obama's Senate seat upon Obama's victory in the "2008 presidential election. Raoul withdrew his name from consideration, wary of entering into a "quid pro quo with the governor, who later became embroiled in a "corruption scandal over his attempt to sell the appointment.
Raoul serves as a partner of the law firm of "Quarles & Brady with a practice concentrating on employment and labor litigation. Raoul is a former "Cook County prosecutor and previously worked as senior counsel for the "City Colleges of Chicago. He has also directed volunteer legal clinics in his district. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Cook County Bar Association and the North Central Province of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. He has coached Hyde Park Biddy Basketball and has been an AYSO soccer volunteer. He has participated in voter registration campaigns with "Rainbow/PUSH and has served as a volunteer Election Day lawyer.
In September 2017, Raoul launched his campaign for Attorney General of Illinois. Among a crowded field of eight Democratic candidates, Raoul has received several significant endorsements: Congressman Danny Davis of Illinois’s 7@th congressional district,  President of the Illinois Senate John Cullerton, the Chicago Teachers Unions, the Cook County Democratic Party, and the Madison County Democratic Party.
As of January 2018, Raoul had the largest war chest among the field of Democratic candidates. At the end of 2017, Raoul received a $100,000 donation from tobacco mogul Don Levin. The donations were made in $10,000 increments from ten of Levin’s companies. Raoul’s opponents insist that accepting the money amounts to a conflict of interest. The current attorney general’s office has been at odds with one of Levin’s companies, Top Tobacco, several times, and an arbitration remains pending with tens of millions of dollars at stake. Raoul’s spokesperson said that the $100,000 donation is not a conflict of interest since “Raoul is not attorney general.”
According to Raoul’s campaign website, he supports the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment and co-sponsored the Equal Wage Act in Illinois, which was later vetoed by Governor Rauner. He believes that abortion should be safe, legal, and accessible. He supports increasing gun restrictions and reforming the criminal justice system.
He won the Democratic primary election on March 21, 2018 winning 30% of the vote in an eight way primary contest that included, among others, former governor Pat Quinn. He faces Erica Harold, a former Miss America and Champaign/Urbana, Illinois attorney who won her two way contest with 59% of the vote.
Raoul lives in the Hyde Park/Kenwood area, he has two children, Che and Mizan. He is also a life member of "Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity (Theta Zeta chapter) and a member of the Chicago Chapter of 100 Black Men.
|Member of the "Illinois Senate
from 13th district