Kwame Raoul was born in Chicago to Haitian immigrants. A lifelong resident of the Hyde Park/Kenwood area, he completed his undergraduate education at DePaul University and went on to earn his Juris Doctor from Chicago-Kent College of Law.
Kwame started his legal career nearly 25 years ago as a prosecutor in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, handling child welfare cases, prosecuting violent criminals and helping crime victims access resources and exercise their rights. He continued to practice as a labor and employment attorney for the City Colleges of Chicago. Kwame currently serves as a partner in the health law group of Quarles & Brady.
In 2004, Kwame was appointed to fill the vacancy left in the legislature by former State Senator Barack Obama’s election to the U.S. Senate. Since then, he’s been a leading voice at the state Capitol for equal rights, criminal justice reform and a woman’s right to choose. Kwame quickly developed a reputation for leading difficult negotiations and sponsoring landmark legislation, including background checks on private transfers of guns, law enforcement and criminal justice reform and the strongest voting rights protections in the country.
Kwame also enacted tougher penalties for child pornography, assisted communities struggling with the opioid abuse epidemic, helped protect student athletes from brain injuries, created opportunities for women-owned and minority-owned businesses and empowered survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence by guaranteeing their legal rights and keeping them safe at home and in the workplace. Kwame chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee.
A few years ago, Kwame was diagnosed with prostate cancer – the same thing that took his father and grandfather from him. Thanks to early detection and excellent medical care, he is a survivor today. The experience solidified his commitment to accessible and affordable healthcare for all, because he believes everyone should have the same fighting chance at good health that he had. Kwame was proud to co-sponsor Illinois’ expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, and he will defend Illinoisans against Republican attempts to take away their healthcare by repealing or weakening the ACA.
As a role model for his public service, Kwame looks to his father, who was a community physician for 30 years on Chicago’s South Side. He made house calls and never turned away a patient who was unable to pay. Inspired by his compassion and ethic of service, Kwame will continue fighting for the rights of Illinoisans as their next Attorney General.