Thursday, Dec 12, 2013
Your Voice, Your Vote: Jefferson County Sheriff's Race
MT. VERNON -- We're only six months away from the primary elections and the race for Jefferson County Sheriff is heating up. So far, four candidates have tossed their hats into the ring, despite the rough last 12 months for the county. The loss of immigration detainees at the jail threw the county budget in the red.
"This has been a lifelong goal for me to become sheriff of Jefferson County," says current Jefferson County Circuit Clerk and Republican sheriff's candidate John Scott.
He says he's never taken his eye off that goal. Scott spent three years working as a captain in the jail and says his last seven years as circuit clerk give him a unique perspective.
"I want to take my experience in the court system and working with the State's Attorney's office, and my budgetary experience as being an office holder and the former jail administrator for Jefferson County Sheriff's office, and take that and use that experience."
The next contender is Republican John Lewis.
"My priority is to bring integrity and professionalism to the department. It's a new direction in leadership."
Lewis is a former Illinois State Police supervisor with 25 years in law enforcement and owner of three shops in Mt. Vernon. He says his business experience will help keep the county books in order.
"I've started three businesses from the ground up, all have been successful," says Lewis. "I've got about 25 years of business experience, so I bring to the table an understanding of organization, efficiency, and numbers."
There's also Deputy Joey Porter, a democrat. He wasn't available for an interview, but he served nearly 21 years with the U.S. Army and has spent 13 years with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, where he's currently the DARE officer.
The three are challenging current sheriff, Democrat Roger Mulch.
"You know, I think the sheriff's job is much more than what the statutes say," Mulch explains.
He's worked at the sheriff's office for more than 30 years and held the top job for 11 years. Mulch says he's worked to find grants that benefit the entire community, and only he has the needed experience to keep the office running smoothly.
"I think not anyone can just run a sheriff's office. I think you have to have law enforcement experience. I think the individual needs to be certified and qualified to do so."
There will be both a Republican and Democratic primary for sheriff. The primary election is set for March 18, 2014. The winner from each party will then be placed on the November 2014 ballot.
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