Aaron Goldstein: Candidate Profile

Attorney general (Democrat)

  • Aaron Goldstein, running for Attorney general

    Aaron Goldstein, running for Attorney general

 
Updated 2/13/2018 12:20 PM

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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.

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BioQ&A

 

Bio

City: Chicago

Website: www.ag4ag.org

Twitter: @AG_4_AG

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AaronGoldsteinForAttorneyGeneral/

Office sought:

Attorney general

Age: 42

Family: wife Nicole, daughters Gabrielle and Veronica

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Occupation: Attorney

Education: B.A., Political Science, University of Illinois

J.D. University of Iowa College of Law

Civic involvement: I have been an attorney for 17 years and most of my career has been representing the indigent. I have been a public defender for approximately 10 years and in law school I worked for the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless and Legal Assistance Foundation. While in private practice I handled pro bono cases including representing NATO summit protesters as well as Occupy Chicago protesters. I taught at the DePaul College of Law and currently teach at North Park University. I am a member of the various neighborhood organizations as well as 33rd Ward Democrats that I created in 2016.

Elected offices held: 33rd Ward Democratic Committeeman

Questions & Answers

What personal background and experiences particularly qualify you for the role of attorney general?

I have the legal experience as well as the managerial experience to be attorney general. I have been an attorney for over 17 years with extensive litigation experience. I currently am an attorney supervisor at the Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender and have run my own legal practice as well for approximately 7 years. In my role as an assistant public defender (in addition to representing clients) I have worked on various policy issues including eliminating the cash bail program within Cook County, rewriting the Public Defender employee manual, and training and writing policy on a first-of-its-kind program allowing public defenders to represent individuals detained in police stations. I taught the trial advocacy team at the DePaul College of Law and currently teach at North Park University. I have also spoken at various trainings and CLE programs for lawyers. In addition, I have tried hundreds of cases and litigated over 30 jury trials. I have handled both state and federal cases, criminal and civil and have been recognized in the legal community for my work as a trial attorney.

What do you consider the chief responsibility of the state attorney general and how would you conduct the office to achieve it?

At its fundamental core, the Attorney General's job is to be the attorney for the people. In that role, the attorney general must be proactive in making sure all of the residents of Illinois are represented and fought for. As Attorney General I have a bold progressive agenda with three priorities: First, I will stand up to the big powers--taking on the big corporations, big banks and Donald Trump's policies that hurt and disrupt Illinois. As Attorney General, I will be vocal and fight every illegal action Trump takes--whether it's the Muslim ban, his deregulation of environmental protections, his attacks on immigrants and DACA recipients or his withdrawal of federal oversight of the Chicago Police Department, I will take him to court every step of the way. Second, I will achieve real criminal justice reform. There are four pieces to this: 1) ending mass incarceration, 2) ending the unjust drug war, 3) eliminating cash bail, and 4) achieving real police reform. Third, I will fight corruption in our state and local government. When I become Attorney General I will form a public integrity bureau whose purpose will be to fight corruption.

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?

Transparency is crucial to a democracy. As the Illinois Open Meetings Act states: Òpublic bodies exist to aid in the conduct of the people's business and that the people have a right to be informed as to the conduct of their business.Ó 5 ILCS 120/1. The public access counselor is very important and the attorney general has a very important role in ensuring state and local government operate in an open and transparent manner. I will ensure that the public access counselor is fully funded and staffed so that requests and complaints are dealt with efficiently and effectively. I will also work with organizations such as the Better Government Association and others who advocate for transparent government to improve the Freedom of Information Act and Open Meetings Act. I will also form a Public Integrity Bureau whose sole responsibility is to fight corruption.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

How aggressive should the attorney general be in seeking consumer protections through the courts?

As Attorney General I will be very aggressive in seeking consumer protections through the courts. According to the Illinois Attorney General's website, the office received 23,735 consumer related complaints in 2016. For nine years in a row, consumer debt ranked as the top complaint. This reflects how consumer debt is a major issue in this state and throughout the country. Individuals who are drowning in debt to unscrupulous lenders do not have the resources to fight these big companies alone. They need an aggressive consumer protection advocate in the attorney general's office and I will be that advocate. I am the only one willing to take on the big corporations and banks ho are taking advantage of consumers and residents every day.

How efficiently do you think the attorney general's office operates currently. What, if anything, would you do to streamline the office?

The Attorney General runs efficiently considering it is underfunded. I will make sure that attorneys are properly trained and that we hire the best and brightest to the office so that we work efficiently and effectively for the people of the state of Illinois. My number one concern is standing up for the people of the state of Illinois and I will not cut necessary services and protections in the name of streamlining.

What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?

As Attorney General I have a bold progressive agenda with three priorities: First, I will stand up to the big powers--taking on the big corporations, big banks and Donald Trump's policies that hurt and disrupt Illinois. As Attorney General, I will be vocal and fight every illegal action Trump takes--whether it's the Muslim ban, his deregulation of environmental protections, his attacks on immigrants and DACA recipients or his withdrawal of federal oversight of the Chicago Police Department, I will take him to court every step of the way. Second, I will achieve real criminal justice reform. There are four pieces to this: 1) ending mass incarceration, 2) ending the unjust drug war, 3) eliminating cash bail, and 4) achieving real police reform. Third, I will fight corruption in our state and local government. When I become Attorney General I will form a public integrity bureau whose purpose will be to fight corruption.

Please name one current leader who most inspires you.

Bernie Sanders

What is the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?

Stand for what is right.

If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?

Traveling abroad and learning another language.

What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?

History was my favorite subject. We unfortunately repeat the same mistakes that are made in the past so learning from that is very important.

If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?

The same advice I was given--stand for what is right