University of Chicago alum William Noakes (J.D. ’82) is running for the office of Attorney General in Michigan this year.
A story on his campaign page recalls that Noakes wanted to be a lawyer as a child. However, his father believed that, as a black man in racially segregated America, Noakes would have trouble achieving such a goal. Instead, his father wanted him to become a certified public accountant.
Noakes grew up in Washington D.C. before the Civil Rights Act was passed, but he beat the odds and received an A.M. in public policy studies and a J.D. in 1982, both from the University of Chicago. He later went on to serve as an attorney for major U.S. corporations like General Motors and to teach at various institutions, including University of Michigan-Dearborn and the University of Chicago Law School.
Currently, Noakes is running as a Democrat in Michigan and aims to address voting reform, environmental issues particularly focused on providing clean water, and federal issues like the Affordable Care Act.
Noakes also plans to focus on the consequences of the 2010 Supreme Court case Citizens United v. FEC. He views it as a mockery of the one person, one vote principle as it allowed the few with money to outweigh the opinions of the many. In addition, he hopes to pass environmental legislation and ensure clear air and water, an issue both Wayne and Genesee county in Michigan have faced.
If chosen as a nominee by the Democratic party in August 2018, Noakes will go on to face a Republican nominee in the statewide general election on Nov 6, 2018.