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ELECTION Illinois Attorney General candidate Scott Drury
by Matt Simonette

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After a tumultuous primary season that saw him win an aggressive challenge to his candidacy, state Rep. Scott Drury ( D-Highwood ) is vying for the post being vacated by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. Among his Democratic opponents opponents in the race are Aaron Goldstein, Renato Mariotti, Jesse Ruiz, Nancy Rotering and Pat Quinn. On the Republican side, Erika Harold and Gary Grasso are also running for the position.

Windy City Times: What compelled you to seek the attorney general's post?

Scott Drury: It's the job of the attorney general to clean up the state of Illinois in a number of ways. For too long, the state has been defined by public corruption, and we need an attorney who is going to go after that.

But it's not just public corruption. The state isn't functioning in a way that helps all people—when there's not a budget for two-and-a-half years, certainly Gov. Rauner has a lot of the blame to take there, but there were problems before he got into office, so I'm running to make sure that we have a state that runs for real people, not just politicians.

WCT: Where do you see yourself in a continuity between yourself and Attorney General Madigan? Would you be running if she was?

SD: In terms of whether I'd be running or not if she wasn't stepping down, I don't believe I would. In terms of whether I'd run the office the same or differently, I think she's done a fabulous job on the consumer protection side, making sure that companies who are taking advantage of people in the state of Illinois are sued and taken to task. What I'd like to beef up is the watchdog side, the transparency side, to make sure that the [state] attorney general's office is on par with the U.S. Attorney General's office in Chicago, and if there is something wrong with what politicians are doing, to make sure that the Attorney General's office will look into that and stop.

WCT: How would you characterize your relationships with Gov. Rauner and Speaker Michael Madigan?

SD: First I want to say that I am a lifelong Democratic who is a firm believer in fighting for progressive Democratic values. My issues are not personal with any individuals—any issue that I have is a matter of policy. I just think that the Democratic Party in Illinois is not pursuing the progressive values that I know so many people are pushing for. One great example is minimum wage. I voted for the "Fight for 15." We passed it, Gov. Rauner vetoed it, and we don't have the votes to override that veto. But we had the votes to override the veto two years ago. We had the votes to override the veto when Gov. Quinn was in office. We didn't do that. It bothers me that we use these issues to dangle in front of really good Democrats and then we don't follow through on it. I want to see the party move in a direction where Democrats are going to be around for a long time, and it's not just about winning elections, it's also about taking care of our base. I will work with whoever Speaker of the House is when I'm attorney general, and I'll work with whoever the governor is. My goal is a government that works for people, not politicians.

WCT: Have you done any significant work, or had any significant engagement, with the LGBT community up to this point?

SD: I have, in a couple ways. Obviously, as a member of the House of Representatives, I've been proud of the work that I've done, in terms of my voting record, on behalf of bills that have been significant to the LGBTQ community. … I was a co-sponsor of the marriage-equality bill. The conversion therapy bill that Rep. [Kelly] Cassidy worked on—I was a supporter of that legislation. In terms of issues for birth certificates and transgender people and the work [legislators] did on that in 2017, I proudly voted for that legislation. In my private [law] practice, I currently represent a gay couple in a housing discrimination case, related to their sexual orientation. I'm familiar with the issues and I've been an advocate. As attorney general, I want to continue to advocate and fight discrimination. I'll make sure that people know that that won't be tolerated in the state of Illinois.

WCT: What are some specific issues that are important for LGBT Illinois residents that the attorney general can address?

SD: An issue that I am becoming more well-versed on is gay and transgender rights in prisons, and how abused and assaulted these individuals are; they don't have a voice. That's got to stop. When we put someone in prison, certainly they've committed a crime, but they're in the care and custody of the State of Illinois. We have to make sure that we protect everybody who comes into our care and custody. We can't say, "They're of a sexual orientation that I don't agree with, so it's okay for them to be harmed." Another big issue that has been in the news is what's been going on in schools, and trying to deal with transgender issues, and who can or cannot use a bathroom. That's been going on Palatine, not far from where I live. These are children who go to school—that gets lost in the translation. These aren't sexual predators. Probably their biggest "issue" is having to deal with being a transgender individual in the suburbs, having hopefully loving parents and having to go to school where you face protests and lawsuits. That needs to come to an end. The attorney general has a huge role in that by being in the forefront of talking about what our values are in the state of Illinois, against the extent that litigation needs to be filed, not just by parents, but by the state, for human rights action. The attorney general should be fighting for these kids—they have enough going on and should not have to take on being the poster child for an issue that any 12-, 13- or 14-year-old could ever deal with.

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