Gary Grasso: Candidate Profile
Attorney general (Republican)
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Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.
City: Burr Ridge
Family: Janet and I will be married 40 years in May. We have six children (5 sons before having our daughter), two daughters-in-law and 3 grandchildren Ã so far. I was the first in my large family to graduate from college Ã and earn a law degree at night while working full time. And while my I am American-Italian by heritage, my mother's side is Irish, English, Hungarian and Jewish. My father could hardly read or write and was a garbage man for our village who nonetheless raised himself up to become a fireman at age 39.
Occupation: Litigation Attorney, founder and owner of Grasso Bass, P.C.
Education: Georgetown University Undergraduate, BS
Fordham University School of Law, JD
Johns Hopkins School of Adv Internat'l Studies - 1-yr, Bologna campus.
Civic involvement: Gary Grasso is the former Mayor of Burr Ridge (2005-Dec 2012), current 5-year member of the DuPage County Board and Chairman of the DuPage 911 Board since 2014 Ã the largest 911 Board in the state. He was on the DuPage Board of Health (1999-2011), and Pres. of DuPage Mayors & Managers 2011. With his experience and qualifications obtained through 39 years as a litigator, Gary believes he is the best qualified candidate to be our next Attorney General.
Elected offices held: Former Burr Ridge Mayor
DuPage County Board Member, '12-current
DuPage 911 Board Chairman, '14-current
What personal background and experiences particularly qualify you for the role of attorney general?
The next Attorney General will not only need deep litigation experience, but also considerable administrative experience. As a former mayor, former member of the DuPage Board of Health, current member of the DuPage County Board (the second largest county in Illinois) and Chairman of the DuPage ETS-911 Board (the largest single ETSB in Illinois), I have considerable direct experience in successful management of personnel, departments, agencies and also with executive and legislative experience.
39 years of litigation for both plaintiffs and defendants at three well known and regarded laws firms at which I was a partner at each one. Since 2001, I have had my own law firm, Grasso Bass, PC. Initially as would be typical for new litigation attorneys, my cases were in a variety of areas of tort and commercial cases (e.g, personal injuries, product liability and insurance issues) and then became concentrated over the year in medical and legal professional liability cases, and to a lesser extent, commercial / contract cases and claims. I've been lead attorney on at least 400-500 cases. I've tried cases in state and federal courts, presented and argued appeals, have taken hundreds of depositions and presented hundreds of professionals and other clients for depositions. I have had a case go to the Illinois Supreme Court as well as the Indiana Supreme Court. I have appeared in court on motions, evidentiary hearings and pretrial conferences innumerable times and probably have authored directly or with an associate over a thousand briefs in my career.
What do you consider the chief responsibility of the state attorney general and how would you conduct the office to achieve it?
First, I will use the attorneys and investigators of the AG's office to investigate the clout based, corrupt property tax assessments system. We must restore confidence to the people of Illinois that they are being treated equally and fairly when property taxes are being assessed. We must not tolerate the status quo and the political corruption at any level. The public should know that when elected, the powers that be, at all levels of government, should be on high alert that the Office of the Illinois Attorney General will not tolerate any form of cheating the system.
We also must continue to serve as the chief litigator for the people of the state of Illinois, working to protect all, but especially those who are most likely to become victims. The people should know that their Attorney General can and will represent them in court, try cases and argue appeals. I will do this by vigorous pursuing the corrupt, the financial predators, big pharma and enforcing the Consumer Fraud Act and the Public Utilities Act.
Is the office of public information public access counselor important? What should be the attorney general's role in ensuring that state and local governing bodies operate in an open and transparent manner?
Yes. The Public Access Counselor (PAC) is an important arm of the Attorney General in making sure we have open and honest government. The PAC provides education of FOIA and open meetings issues, mediates disputes over disclosure of information, issues binding opinions and performs other related tasks. As a Member of the DuPage County Board I was an early supporter of the ACT initiative (Accountability, Consolidation and Transparency). Opening meetings and access to public information are a hallmark of democracy and should have the strong support of the Attorney General so the people can trust their units of governments.
How aggressive should the attorney general be in seeking consumer protections through the courts?
The Attorney General should be very active in enforcing both the Consumer Fraud Act and the Public Utilities Act. As well the Attorney General should make it a priority to fight for the powerless, the exposed, and the vulnerable across Illinois, no matter who is in the Governor's Mansion. I will especially pursue financial predators of the elderly, and protect woman from harassment, and children from abuse.
How efficiently do you think the attorney general's office operates currently. What, if anything, would you do to streamline the office?
After 16 years under the current Attorney General, there will be a strong need to evaluate the structure of the 11 divisions, and their legal and support staffs. I believe in consolidation to save money and streamline services. I will evaluate the need and functions of the hundreds of attorneys and staff of the office and determine where efficiency can be improved. A Grasso administration would share resources with County State's Attorneys, the Illinois State Police, and federal legal officials to fight against the scourge of political corruption, and the opioid epidemic. These immediate needs will be my initial focuses, in addition to consumer fraud protection that the AG's office traditionally has handled.
What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?
I would come into office as a Republican, but my service in the office would not be partisan. Anyone that has dealt with me as a trustee, board or committee member will likely tell you that I am consensus builder Ã and Ã’compromiseÃ“ is not treason it's reason. I would begin the transition between Attorney General Madigan and me through a team of respected, qualified, and diverse Republicans and Democrats who share my deeply rooted feeling that Illinoisans deserve an independent voice as their Attorney General more than ever today. But I am the only candidate that will be truly independent - no matter who is Governor or running the Legislature.
Please name one current leader who most inspires you.
Senator John McCain for his convictions and I remember well how he wanted to address issues, not personalities, when he ran for President.
What is the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?
Education is the great equalizer in society.
If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?
Learning about how my mom and dad grew up poor through the Depression and WWII.
What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?
History - it taught me how one person could positively or negatively affect the lives and cultures of so many.
If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?
Live first by your principles.