Mary Cole is running for State’s Attorney to restore safety in our Lake County communities, give victims of crime a voice, and remove politics from the Lake County State’s Attorney’s office.

After nearly four years as Lake County State’s Attorney, Eric Reinhart has failed Lake County families; crime is up, criminal prosecutions are down, and our loved ones are less safe. As an experienced attorney and prosecutor, Mary will fight on behalf of victims of crime and ensure that offenders face real consequences for their actions.

In college, Mary encountered the criminal justice system for the first time as a victim in a domestic violence case. This experience gave Mary a unique perspective on the importance of prosecutors treating victims of crime with dignity and respect and reinforced why she chose a career practicing law. After this experience, Mary worked as a domestic violence advocate while she finished college. After graduating, Mary became a judicial paralegal, helping judges here in Lake County. After Mary finished law school and passed the bar exam, she worked as a public defender before being sworn in as a Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney. 

In late 2020, career criminal defense attorney Eric Rinehart took over as Lake County State’s Attorney. Mary became deeply concerned about the direction of the office because Rinehart had never prosecuted a single case, and she feared that Rinehart would not prioritize the safety and welfare of victims and the community. Within months, this fear became a reality as Rinehart often actively took the side of criminals instead of victims. Mary even had a supervisor tell her that “we’re not going to continue to use the word ‘victim’” to describe people who have been victims of crime. In 2021, Mary joined dozens of her colleagues in leaving the Rinehart administration in disgust—to date, over 60% of the Lake County State’s Attorney’s office staff have left their jobs.

As Lake County’s next State’s Attorney, Mary will focus on the safety of neighborhoods and work to ensure that criminals who should remain in prison actually stay behind bars. She will prioritize curbing the gang violence spreading north of the City of Chicago and into our Lake County neighborhoods, and she will work hand in hand with all community organizations, non-profits, and faith-based groups to ensure Lake County becomes safer for everyone.

Mary is the proud recipient of numerous professional awards during her career. She was named a National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40 recipient and Prosecutor of the Year by the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists.

Mary was raised in Deerfield, and her family serves as an inspiration to her every day. While Mary’s dad was raised here in Lake County, her mother came to the United States from Thailand at the age of 30. Her mother was the first of her siblings born in Thailand after Mary’s grandparents fled communist China. Still, Mary’s mom had a hard childhood; she had polio and typhoid fever and was refused an education once she had reached the 4th grade. Thankfully, on her mother’s 30th birthday, she was gifted a one-way plane ticket to the United States. With minimal resources and support, Mary’s mom started a local business, and 40 years later, her company, Mimi Cole Designers LTD in Deerfield, still thrives today.

Mary is a proud alumnus of Deerfield High School, Southern Illinois University, and John Marshall Law School. She is currently in private law practice with offices in Lake County.