Nancy Rotering: Candidate Profile
Attorney general (Democrat)
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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: Highland Park
Family: Husband, Rob Rotering and four sons
Occupation: Mayor of the City of Highland Park, IL
Education: Stanford University, BA Economics
Northwestern University (Kellogg School of Management), MBA
University of Chicago Law School, JD
Civic involvement: Two-term Mayor
Precinct Democratic Committeeman
Founder & Acting Chair, Highland Park/Highwood Legal Aid Clinic
Founder, Community - the Anti-Drug, Leadership Alliance of Lake County, Highland Park Environmental Education Program, Highland Park Human Services Task Force
Member, Local Government Advisory Board - IL Comptroller
Board Member: Planned Parenthood, Highland Park Healthcare Foundation, Northwestern University Women's Health Research Institute Advisory Board (Chair), Illinois Women's Institute for Leadership (former President), Ravinia Festival Women's Board
Organizations: Northwest Municipal Conference Legislative Committee, Northwestern University Leadership Council, Personal PAC, Sierra Club, League of Women Voters, and Highland Park-Highwood Rotary
Elected offices held: Mayor, City of Highland, IL 2011-present
Council Member, City of Highland Park, IL 2009-2011
Precinct 222 Democratic Committeeman (2006-present)
appointed City of Highland Park Plan Commissioner (2006-2009) and City of Highland Park Environmental Commissioner (2005-2006)_____
What personal background and experiences particularly qualify you for the role of attorney general?
As a two-term Mayor, I have spent nearly seven years in the executive branch, ultimately responsible for the operation of a city government with a $90 million budget and nearly 300 employees. In addition to setting the culture and priorities for the organization, I promote government accountability, prioritizing accessibility, ethics and transparency. With this experience, I will hit the ground running as attorney general.
I have represented resident interests and advocated on their behalf. I've led successful fights against powerful special interests such as the NRA and local utilities. In addition, I am the founder and acting chair of a legal aid clinic that specializes in immigration, domestic violence, and housing, ensuring access to justice in emergent situations. I know how to represent the interests of my constituents comprehensively and impactfully.
My commitment to advocacy spans decades. Prior to my tenure as mayor, I created an environmental advocacy training program for public school students. I am on the Board of Planned Parenthood and have promoted access to health care for decades.
I have an undergraduate degree in economics from Stanford and an MBA from Northwestern. I worked in finance before attending the University of Chicago Law School. As an attorney, I practiced health care law with McDermott Will & Emery, focusing on compliance and rooting out fraud in the healthcare industry. I bring a background in business and law, along with experience in the legislative and executive branches of government. Most importantly, I have a record of getting things done.
What do you consider the chief responsibility of the state attorney general and how would you conduct the office to achieve it?
The people of Illinois deserve a strong, independent, principled advocate. I bring a lifetime of advocacy and a record of producing real results. As Mayor, I shook up City Hall with a major reform of city government that resulted in increased transparency, accountability, collaboration, and ethics. I emphasized creating a culture at City Hall that regained the trust of our residents and employees.
It is crucial to continue the strong legacy of Lisa Madigan as the people's lawyer in the areas of consumer protection, environmental protection, immigration rights, crime victim advocacy, and standing up for labor and working families. It is also critical to recognize the institutional knowledge and contributions of those who have served the office, and seek their perspectives.
We need to explore expanding the role of the office. Resources need to be provided to effectively address criminal justice reform, gun violence, public corruption, and the opioid crisis. Legislation is also needed to strengthen the office's role in fighting sexual harassment. I will be a fierce advocate calling for necessary changes to protect survivors.
The Attorney General's Office will also need to continue its collaborative efforts with other states' Attorneys General in stopping Trump's attempts to diminish human and civil rights. Working together, they are the last line of defense in protecting our fundamental rights as Americans and are critical to protecting the future of our democracy.
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 and accessibility are fundamental to a democratic government. As a Mayor, I have prioritized public access to information and was appointed to the Illinois Comptroller's Local Government Advisory Board, focusing on improving and clarifying local government financial reporting to the public. As Attorney General, I will bring that same dedication to transparency, ethics and principled leadership that I have maintained as a Mayor. I will fully support the PAC, boosting resources available and outreach to employees responsible for public information.
The Attorney General's Public Access Counselor (PAC) processes thousands of appeals and requests. Those numbers prove the value of the office as it meets the needs of citizens serving as watchdogs of government. Through this office, units of government are held accountable by ensuring that government decision-making is visible to those represented. Additionally, I will make sure that the office of Attorney General continues to issue binding opinions, regardless of government level, such as Lisa Madigan's binding opinion against Governor Bruce Rauner for failing to meet FOIA requirements.
Strengthening state and local governments' commitments to rooting out corruption is an increasing challenge. While many of the necessary tools are available, some expansion of access to relevant data might be necessary given the office's limited jurisdiction, but the trust of our residents and the stability of our government processes are tied to cleaning up government across the spectrum. Increased resources for the PAC, along with expanded outreach to advise local governments on compliance and to educate public watchdogs, are critical.
How aggressive should the attorney general be in seeking consumer protections through the courts?
The current work of the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division protects Illinois consumers and businesses victimized by fraud, deception, and unfair business practices. While it is critical to continue the good work of this division, as I have done as a Mayor, we should develop a strategic plan and work with partners to identify the most pressing consumer protection needs of our poorest families, our veterans, seniors, immigrants, and other vulnerable populations. The division should proactively identify and communicate about bad actors who seek to prey on our most vulnerable populations.
The Attorney General must act as the statewide monitor for compliance with state consumer laws backed up by a commitment to pursue litigation and seek real penalties as necessary. By selectively seeking federal jurisdiction in certain cases, not only can increased penalties be accessed, greater attention can be drawn to bad actors, coordination with other state Attorneys General can occur, and a greater impact on shutting down fraud can be achieved.
How efficiently do you think the attorney general's office operates currently. What, if anything, would you do to streamline the office?
It is crucial to continue the legacy of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan in the areas of consumer protection, environmental protection, immigration rights, crime victim advocacy, and standing up for labor and working families. Additionally, her collaboration with other Attorneys General has been an important bulwark against the destructive efforts of the Trump administration. Her work in all of these respects has been impactful and has served the people of Illinois well.
I believe, however, the role of the office does need to expand. Specifically, resources and priorities need to also focus on criminal justice reform, gun violence prevention, public corruption, and the opioid crisis. Legislation is also needed to strengthen the office's role in fighting sexual harassment, including a push for Springfield to amend the Human Rights Act to apply to all employers, as well as the creation of a confidential hotline. Serial harassers should be prosecuted to stop repeated discrimination and harassment.
As the reach of the office grows, there should also be an increased focus on collaboration, seeking efficiencies and synergies with the state's attorneys, police departments, and US Attorney's Office. Having spoken with a number of people in these offices and positions, I have some ideas about how those efficiencies can be realized.
Attorney General Madigan has created a number of impactful and creative initiatives in order to meet national, statewide, and local needs. Building upon her leadership in advocacy is vital to meeting the needs of the people of Illinois.
What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?
It has never been more important to have an independent, principled, and effective leader serving as Attorney General, for the sake of both our state and our nation.
In addition to continuing the critical work of the Attorney General's Office in the areas of consumer protection, environmental protection, immigration rights, crime victim advocacy, and standing up for labor and working families, specific initiatives I would pursue as IL Attorney General include:
_ Acting as a powerful advocate by continuing my fight against the NRA to enact and enforce common sense gun violence prevention solutions.
_ Fighting for criminal justice reform, restoring human rights and public safety to our impacted communities.
_ Standing up against sexual harassment and working to change the laws so that survivors can come forward without fear of retaliation and serial offenders are prosecuted. As Attorney General, I will be a fierce advocate calling for necessary changes to protect survivors and end cycles of abuse.
_ Pursuing action against online and off-shore pharmacies in an effort to curb access to opioids, while working to increase access to mental health and addiction recovery resources.
_ Providing open and honest government via additional resources for the Public Access Counselor, as well as education and accountability for improved government ethics and transparency across all levels of government.
Most importantly, I will continue to prioritize collaboration with other state Attorneys General to protect and defend our fundamental human and civil rights as Americans, constantly under attack by this President's administration.
Please name one current leader who most inspires you.
Senator Dick Durbin. He is a dedicated, thoughtful public servant, who consistently focuses on improving people's lives with common-sense policies, prioritizing collaboration and communication.
What is the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?
From an early age, we learned the importance of treating people equally and with respect, and advocating for those who may not otherwise be heard.
If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?
I tell my children Ã’Life is either a good time or a good story, and challenges are really opportunities.Ã“ I wouldn't change a thing.
What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?
My favorite Business School class was Ethics in Management & Leadership - a great foundation for courageous decision making in my professions and as Mayor.
If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?
The lessons of my parents: treat people equally and with respect, take time to appreciate life's wonderful moments, and work hard to heal our world.