CHICAGO – Former Interior Secretary and U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar, who has been a renowned advocate for immigration reform and clean energy throughout his years of public service, today endorsed Jesse Ruiz in the Democratic race for Illinois Attorney General.

“As Attorney General, Jesse will be a powerful advocate for all the people of Illinois in these difficult times,” Salazar said. “When people’s rights are under attack, I know that Jesse will stand strong, whether he’s facing down corporate polluters or standing up against the Trump White House.

“Ken Salazar made history when he was elected as Colorado’s Attorney General and became the first Latino to win statewide office, and he made history again as the first Colorado Latino to serve in the U.S. Senate,” Ruiz said. “During his years in the Senate, Ken was a determined advocate for comprehensive immigration reform, and he was a driving force for clean energy as the head of the Interior Department. Secretary Salazar has a well-earned reputation as a thoughtful, independent public servant, and I am deeply honored to accept his endorsement.”

Ken Salazar, a fifth-generation Coloradan, served as director of Colorado’s Department of Natural Resources from 1990 to 1994. In 1998, he was elected as Attorney General, a post he held until his election to the Senate in 2004. He joined President Obama’s cabinet as Secretary of the Interior in 2009. During his tenure as Interior Secretary, Salazar led a large-scale effort to ensure that America’s national parks and national monuments reflect our nation’s diversity; as part of that effort, he worked to create new monuments honoring Cesar Chavez, the Buffalo Soldiers, and Harriet Tubman. Salazar stepped down as Secretary in 2013. He now is a partner in the Denver office of WilmerHale.

Salazar’s endorsement underscores Ruiz’ commitment to protecting Illinois’ environment and natural resources. “Like so many people in Illinois and across the nation, I am outraged by Trump’s continuing attempts to put polluters in charge of the U.S. EPA,” Ruiz said. “As Attorney General, I will stand up to polluters who target low-income communities that have not had the political clout to protect their health and the health of their children. I will take action to safeguard the quality of our air and our water – especially our beautiful Lake Michigan – and I will speak out when Trump tries to appoint foxes to guard the environmental henhouse.”

“As a former Attorney General myself, I know that it’s a tough job – and I know that Jesse Ruiz is up to the challenge,” Salazar said. “Jesse Ruiz will defend the rights of everyone in Illinois, whether they’re facing environmental injustice or attacks on their civil rights from our own government. His integrity, legal talent, and passion for public service make him the best candidate in this important race.”

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