Kwame Raoul

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Kwame Raoul
Kwame Raoul.jpg
Illinois State Senate District 13
In office
2004 - Present
Term ends
January 12, 2013
Years in position 11
Base salary$67,836/year
Per diem$132/day
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 2, 2010
Next generalNovember 6, 2012
Term limitsN/A
Bachelor'sDePaul University
J.D.Chicago-Kent College of Law (1993)
Date of birthSeptember 30, 1964
Place of birthChicago, Illinois
ReligionUnited Church of Christ
Office website
Personal website
Campaign website
Kwame Raoul is a Democratic member of the Illinois State Senate. Raoul was first appointed to the Illinois Senate in 2004. Raoul was re-elected in November of 2010 with his term expiring in 2013.

Raoul graduated with his Bachelor's Degree from DePaul and his Juris Doctorate degree from Chicago-Kent Law. Before becoming a full-time Senator, Raoul was the President of Relationship Strategies International LLC.

Committee assignments


In the 2011-2012 legislative session, Raoul has been appointed to these committees:


In the 2009-2010 legislative session, Raoul served on these committees:


Death penalty

At the beginning of the 2011 session, Raoul sponsored a proposal that will appeal the death penalty in Illinois. He faced opposition from the Illinois State’s Attorneys Association.

Raoul cited 10 years of studies that demonstrate a broken criminal justice system.

“There’s got to be a point where you try and solve a problem,” said Raoul. “I think it’s high time the Illinois justice system catch up.”

In 2000, former Gov. George Ryan placed a temporary moratorium on the death penalty, which has since been upheld. Three years later and two days before leaving office, he commuted the sentences of 167 Death Row prisoners.

Sheldon Sobol, Grundy County state's attorney and president of the Illinois State's Attorneys Association, said that the legislation was rushed through committee and that victims didn’t get a chance to be heard by lawmakers.

“When this bill is taken by the Legislature, they have not heard from the most important people that are impacted by this decision,” said Sobol.[2]

On January 6, 2011, the House narrowly passed the bill to abolish the death penalty. The measure now moves to the Senate, where it will be considered when that chamber returns to the Capitol next week.

Lawmakers approved Senate Bill 3539 with the required 60 votes after waging an earlier emotional, hour-long debate. However, the $20 million annual cost of death penalty cases that convinced state Rep. Patrick J. Verschoore to change his previous “no” vote to “yes.”

“I was on both sides of this issue. But then you think of the potential cost savings of this bill, and the state needs all of the savings we can get,” Verschoore said. “Besides, my wife was on me to vote for it.”

“Let’s instead put that money where it really matters,” said state Rep. Karen Yarbrough. “Let’s give law enforcement some training that they need to wage the fight against crime. Let’s give victims of these heinous crimes the support and services that they long deserve.”

Former FBI agent and state Rep. Jim Sacia could not be swayed. He recalled that Brian Dugan confessed to the 1985 killing of 7-year-old Melissa Ackerman in exchange for avoiding the death penalty.

“We wouldn’t have had information on the heinousness of this crime had we not had the tool of the death penalty,” Sacia said.

Rep. Robert W. Pritchard said issues of life and death aren’t that cut and dried.

“I agree there are cases that we’d like to have that perpetrator put to death,” Pritchard said. “But it’s arbitrary how and who we pursue in those cases.”

Rep. William Burns agreed and noted that the death penalty has often been biased in its implementation.

“If you’re an African-American who kills a white victim, you’re more likely to be sentenced to death than a white person who kills a black person,” Burns said. “That if you’re low-income, if you are uneducated, you’re more likely to be sentenced to death than someone who has more education and more money.”[3]


Sen. Raoul said the level of transparency during the mapmaking process in 2011 was unparallelled. The legislature hosted hearings before and after the redistricting map was drawn. The current proposed map was posted online.

"As soon as we had a proposed map, we put it out on there," said Raoul.[4]



See also: Illinois State Senate elections, 2012

Raoul is running for re-election to the 13th District seat in the Illinois State Senate in 2012. He is unopposed in the Democratic Primary on March 20, 2012.[5]


See also: Illinois State Senate elections, 2010

Raoul won re-election to the 13th District Seat in the Illinois State Senate with no opposition. The election took place on November 2, 2010.[6]

Illinois State Senate, District 13 (2010)
Candidates Votes Percent
Green check mark transparent.png Kwame Raoul (D) 52,254 100.0%

Raoul ran unopposed in the Democratic primary election on February 2nd.[7]


On November 7, 2006, Democrat Kwame Raoul won re-election to the Illinois State Senate District 13 receiving 49,616 votes, ahead of Republican Charles Kinzer (5,743 votes).[8]

Illinois State Senate, District 13 (2006)
Candidates Votes
Green check mark transparent.png Kwame Raoul (D) 49,616
Charles Kinzer (R) 5,743

Campaign donors


In 2006, Raoul collected $311,665 in donations.[9]

Listed below are those that contributed most to his campaign.

Donor Amount
Citizens for Emil Jones Jr. $25,000
Oreal James $20,000
Illinois Trial Lawyers Association $17,100
Friends of Clayborne $10,000
Friends of Will Burns $8,600
Comed $7,500
Illinois Credit Union League $6,170
Synchronous Solutions $6,000
Keith Hebeisen $6,000
Barbara Flynn Currie for State Representative $5,560
Timothy J. Rand $5,000
Oreal James $5,000
Northern Trust Co. $4,250
Construction & General Laborers District Council of Chicago & Vicinity $4,000
Ameren $4,000
Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association $3,850
Illinois Realtors Association $3,650
Ariel Capital Management $3,550
Chicago Teachers Union $3,500
Illinois Venture Capital Association $3,500

Recent news

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District 13

Raoul represents Illinois Senate District 13. District 13 includes Chicago Skyway Region[10].


Kwame is married to Kali Raoul. They have two children and reside in Chicago, Illinois.

External links

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Political offices
Preceded by
Illinois Senate District 13
Succeeded by