Growing up in Illinois, Erika Harold believed in the power of education to help achieve success. Sometimes bullied for her biracial background (her mother is African American; her father is white), she drove herself to excel, graduating Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Accepted into law school but unable to afford the tuition, Harold competed in the Miss America pageant for scholarship funds. She won the title in 2003 and went on to earn a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2007. After graduation, she worked as a litigation attorney; in 2015 the Illinois Supreme Court appointed her to serve on its Committee on Equality.
As a delegate to the 2004 Republican National Convention, Harold delivered a speech in support of President George W. Bush’s faith-based initiatives. She currently serves on the national board of directors of Prison Fellowship, the world’s largest outreach to incarcerated individuals and their families. Harold says that her priorities as attorney general would include rooting out corruption, reforming the criminal-justice system, preventing harassment and tackling the opioid crisis.
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