Candidates clash over SAFE-T Act, public health measures
This item is adapted from a News-Gazette article on October 12, 2022, page A-5 by Peter Hancock that presents points from the recent zoom debate between the candidates for Attorney General: current AG Kwame Raoul and Republican Thomas DeVore. For the full article, see the News-Gazette.
Raoul, a former state senator from Chicago, is seeking his second term in the AG’s office, while DeVore, a southern Illinois attorney in private practice, is trying to unseat him.
DeVore gained notoriety during the COVID-19 pandemic for filing numerous lawsuits, mostly unsuccessful, challenging the governor’s authority to issue multiple disaster declarations and to issue executive orders that included mask mandates and other mitigation measures. Among his clients in those suits was state Sen. Darren Bailey, the GOP nominee for governor.
“I think one of the things we’ve learned over the course of the last couple of years is that there was a fair question to be asked about the extent of the governor’s ability to issue some of those mandates,” DeVore said. “You know, you have some on one side of the conversation say he could absolutely do it. You had some that said he absolutely couldn’t. But I think we would all agree as intellectual people there was a fair question.”
Raoul, however, defended his decisions and his support for Pritzker’s executive orders, saying the state was in the midst of a deadly pandemic and that he, himself, lost friends to the disease.
“I will agree with Mr. DeVore. It was a fair question to ask,” Raoul said. “But how many times you ask it is a fair question, too. It was asked and answered multiple times in multiple lawsuits. And the courts’ The two also clashed over the role of the attorney general’s office in prosecuting certain crimes, a decision that is traditionally left to locally elected state’s attorneys.
In particular, DeVore has been an outspoken critic of Cook County State’s Attorney Kimberly Foxx, arguing she has refused to bring charges in felony theft cases that involve less than $1,000. He even said of Foxx at the Illinois State Fair, “she better get to prosecuting, or we’ll find a way to prosecute her,” raising questions about whether he would use the office to target his political opponents.
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