The race for who will represent the Democratic Party as the candidate for the Illinois attorney general in the upcoming election just got a bit more crowded with Ill. State Rep. Scott Drury (Dist.-58th), a former federal prosecutor, entering into the fray.
In a 30-minute conversation at the Defender’s office, Drury laid out his vision for how he intends to improve the state. In weeks past, he was a candidate for Illinois governor before opting to switch to become a candidate for Illinois attorney general. He explained that he made the right decision given his desire to help the state especially in light of incumbent Illinois attorney general Lisa Madigan’s stunning decision to not seek reelection.
Drury acknowledges his role of Illinois attorney general would mean serving the whole state and not just the region in the north he calls home.
“I don’t look at Illinois as southern Illinois or northern Illinois or Chicago versus the suburbs,” said Drury. “This is a state that has issues and the attorney general has to be someone everyone in the state can look to and say I can trust that person, that person is doing a fair and independent job and is out to protect me.”
Drury offered this statement to the general public:
“Here’s what I am about: the system in Illinois is broke and I believe you should not be afraid to stand up for what’s right and do the right thing,” said Drury. “The system is not working for citizens in Illinois. When I see injustice, when I see working families being taken advantage of, when I see an overall wrong, I’m going to stand up and fix it.”
Drury was asked to address a pledge he made on his campaign website’s homepage, one where he states his desire to address Illinois’ image of corruption and pursuit of self-interest among its politicians. He said if elected, he intends to use the resources at his disposal to “redirect resources” to address different areas of concern.
“We’ve been outsourcing all of the corruption investigation to the federal government, and I think there needs to be an internal watchdog in the state of Illinois and it has to start with the attorney general,” said Drury. “I think this office was really focused on consumer protection and I think the office should remain having that focus but it should not do that to the exclusion of other things.”
Policy on Gun Violence
Drury said gun violence is at an “epidemic” level. He said addressing the needs within society that cause people to resort to using a gun for any reason is a start in the right direction.
He also noted that increasing the length of sentencing for offenders has not worked and suggested he had ideas that will be beneficial to all.
“Papers are reporting on Chicago, which certainly has a problem, but it’s spreading all over the state of Illinois, and I think the solutions that have been put out there by the general assembly have not been the right way to go about tackling the issue,” said Drury. “The solution is a comprehensive approach, investing in communities, investing in afterschool programs, trying to have job training in communities, bringing businesses to the community for those who want to invest there; the state has failed in that respect.”
Drury called for gun laws to be strengthened nationwide, not just in Chicago, and for continued collaboration between the federal government and law enforcement officers.
“We need better laws nationwide to keep illegal guns from coming into Chicago,” said Drury. “Chicago could ban guns and you’re still going to have guns coming over the Skyway, coming up from Mississippi.”
Responding to Chicago Police Misconduct
Responding to accusations of police misconduct is an area of familiarity, according to Drury.
He referred back to his days as a federal prosecutor where he had to prosecute a police officer for assaulting an African American man who was shackled to a wheelchair, which was all caught on video which resulted in the officer serving time in federal prison. He said his background and unique experiences working with police officers, prosecutors, and lawmakers give him a unique perspective.
“When I was at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, I worked closely with the police, and a lot of the good police are serving and protecting, and we want them to be able to do their job and in order for them to do their job so that people in any community in the state can trust them,” said Drury. “They have to know if something goes wrong that they will be treated the same way as everybody else and I think right now there’s a perception, which can be valid, that there’s a different standard.”
Drury applauded the Obama Administration for the Dreamers Act and called the actions of the Trump Administration a “bait and switch” that tricked individuals and families to share their immigration information only for it to lead to unforeseen consequences calling it a “due process violation.”
“The Constitution needs to be protected, it can’t protect some of the people some of the time,” said Drury. “Someone has to stand up for the Constitution and what it means and I will continue to do that. I want Illinois to be a leader on that issue, not a follower.”
Drury has represented the state’s 58th district since 2013, an area which encompasses portions of Lake Bluff, Lake Forest, Highland Park, Deerfield, Northbrook, and other municipalities.