Name: Renato Mariotti
Office seeking: Attorney General
City of residence: Chicago
Campaign website: https://renatomariotti.com/
Why are you running and why should you be nominated? 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. It's time to step up and fight back, and that's why I'm running for Attorney General. As a former prosecutor, my career has been about fighting for justice in courts of law. I am not a politician or a political insider, and I am not beholden to the special interests and political apparatus that control our state. I have been a litigator, prosecutor, and trial lawyer for my entire career. 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.
What do you view the role of the attorney general's office to be in terms of law enforcement? The Attorney General is the state’s top law enforcement officer. In addition to providing constitutional interpretation of statutes and legislation, the Attorney General can and should play an active role when the rights of any people or group are under attack, laws are being broken or circumvented, and power or position is being used to take advantage of others. As active as the Attorney General should be in these matters, he or she needs to remain independent and removed from political considerations. As Attorney General, I will fiercely enforce our laws and focus our resources on high-impact cases. Given my experience as a federal prosecutor, I will be ready on Day 1 to be our state’s top law enforcement officer.
How would you view the relationship between the attorney general's office and state's attorneys in each county? The relationship between the Attorney General’s office and State’s Attorneys in each county should be collaborative and coordinated. If elected, I will work to improve communication and coordination between State’s Attorneys and the Attorney General’s office. As an example, to improve independence, remove political influence, and represent the interests of Illinois residents, I would assign special prosecutors from the Attorney General’s Office to handle select cases of excessive and deadly police force, in consultation and cooperation with local State’s Attorneys. By building a mutually beneficial relationship, the Attorney General and the State’s Attorneys will be in a better position to enforce our laws and keep citizens safe.
What is the most important issue facing the attorney general's office? How would you approach it? The most important issue facing the Attorney General in the first year will be fighting back against the Trump Administration. Donald Trump represents a threat to our democracy, our constitutional rights, and our basic system of government. Since his inauguration, state Attorneys General have used the legal system to thwart his agenda. They challenged Trump’s unconstitutional travel ban, the end of net neutrality, and the rule limiting access to contraception in the Affordable Care Act, amongst many others. They’ve done this for good reason—it’s effective and can help force real change. As Attorney General, my first priority will be to stand up for Illinois residents who have their constitutional rights violated by Trump and to limit Trump’s attempts to abuse his power. State Attorneys General are the last line of defense against the Trump Administration, and I will do everything I can to stop Trump’s assault on working families, the poor, the sick, and communities of color. For example, I would take legal action against Trump’s discriminatory immigration policies. The ACA is also under attack because of Trump’s cruel and reckless tax plan that repealed the individual mandate, denying thousands of people health care coverage and raising premiums.
What other issues would you focus the attorney general's office on? In my first year, my biggest priorities will be economic justice and election security, in addition to fighting back against the Trump Administration, as mentioned above. I will use the office of the Attorney General to fight against economic injustice and level the playing field between rich and poor. The first issue I will tackle is the epidemic of wage theft in Illinois. Since 2014, more than $50 million in claims have come before the state where people are being denied the wages they deserve. This is disgraceful. No one should be deprived of the wages they are owed, and the state needs to do a better job of cracking down on businesses that refuse to follow the law. Moreover, free and safe elections are the foundation of our democracy. We will quickly lose credibility with our citizens if the security of our elections continues to be compromised. I want to make Illinois a national leader in election security. I will lead a full investigation into the Russian attack on our voting systems and issue a public report of our findings, including recommendations to better defend our system, such as the creation of a dedicated election security officer.
What are your views on the legalization of marijuana debate? Illinois’ drug laws have been a failure across the board. I support the legalization, regulation and taxation of marijuana, with one important caveat. We need strict safeguards in place to prevent this from becoming another insider industry in Illinois where the privileged and politically connected succeed to the detriment of working people and small businesses.