Illinois Supreme Court Justice Tom Kilbride Endorsed by Bipartisan Public Safety Leaders Ahead of Early Voting

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September 22, 2020

Ryan McLaughlin, 312-969-025                                                                 

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Tom Kilbride is proud to receive endorsements from champions of public safety across the Third Judicial District as he seeks retention to the state’s highest court, with Democrats, Republicans, and non-partisan judicial leaders joining together to praise his record as a fair and independent judge dedicated to ensuring the legal system works for everyone. 

To date, Kilbride’s supporters include law enforcement, elected officials from both parties, legal professionals, business leaders and other prominent members of local communities. The endorsements come ahead of the start of early voting on Sept. 24, the first day voters can cast ballots in-person and the first day election authorities can send mail-in ballots to registered voters. To retain his position on the state Supreme Court, Kilbride will need favorable votes from 60 percent of the voters who mark an answer to this question on their ballots.

“I am honored to have earned the endorsement of such a diverse group of law enforcement officials and members of the legal community,” said Kilbride. “In these highly polarized times, I am grateful that, though they may be Republicans, Democrats or Independents, they have set party aside to express their confidence in my fairness and belief that ‘equal justice under law’ is not merely a phrase carved into the marble above a court’s entryway, it is the bedrock principle that guides every decision I make. The people of Illinois deserve nothing less.”

“Some issues transcend partisanship, and that’s particularly the case when it comes to my support for Supreme Court Justice Tom Kilbride,” said LaSalle County Sheriff Tom Templeton, a Republican. “My endorsement of Justice Kilbride is based on his record of treating everyone who comes before the court fairly and with the utmost respect for the rights our state and federal constitutions endow them. Fairness, honesty and integrity is what the men and women of law enforcement expect in a judge and Tom Kilbride has never let us down.”

“I have served 32 years in law enforcement, and the safety and sacrifices of the personnel under my charge is extremely personal to me. We put our lives on the line to protect residents of our county and to work to see justice done. It’s important that our judges are consistent, fair and balanced when they hear cases, and Justice Kilbride continually makes sure that everyone is heard, and justice is served. I have also been a long-time union member, and I know that Kilbride respects an honest, hard-day’s work, which I think is important. I think everyone should vote in favor of retaining Justice Kilbride on the state Supreme Court,” said Will County Sheriff Mike Kelley, a Democrat.

List of Public Safety Endorsements

Adrienne W. Albrecht, Circuit Judge, 21st Judicial Circuit, Kankakee County

J. Jeffrey Allen, Circuit Judge, 12th Judicial Circuit, Will County

Paul Bauer, Marshall County State’s Attorney

John Booker, Whiteside County Sheriff

Tim Bukowski, former Kankakee County Sheriff

Gerald Bustos, Rock Island County Sheriff

Geno J. Caffarini, Bureau County State’s Attorney

David Clague, Knox County Sheriff

Terry A. Costello, Whiteside County State’s Attorney

Chris Doscotch, Circuit Judge, 10th Judicial Circuit, Peoria County

Kevin L. Doyle, Putnam County Sheriff

Stephen G. Evans, retired Chief Judge, 12th Judicial Circuit, Henderson County

Paula A. Gamora, Circuit Judge, 12th Judicial Circuit, Will County

James W. Glasgow, Will County State’s Attorney

Jodi Hoos, Peoria County State’s Attorney

Justin G. Jochums, Fulton County State’s Attorney

Mike Kelley, Will County Sheriff

Michael J. Kick, retired Chief Judge, 21st Judicial Circuit, Kankakee County

Stephen Kouri, Circuit Judge, 10th Judicial Circuit, Tazewell County

Meeghan N. Lee, Mercer County State’s Attorney

Robert N. Livas, retired Circuit Judge, 12th Judicial Court, Will County

Paul Mangieri, retired Circuit Judge, 9th Judicial Circuit, Knox County

John L. McGehee, Circuit Judge, 14th Judicial Circuit, Rock Island County

John T. Pepmeyer, Knox County State’s Attorney

Jim Reed, Bureau County Sheriff

Jim Rowe, Kankakee County State’s Attorney

Richard C. Schoenstedt, Chief Judge, 12th Judicial Circuit, Will County 

Timothy J. Slavin, retired Circuit Judge, 14th Judicial Circuit, Whiteside County

Tom Templeton, LaSalle County Sheriff

Linnea E. Thompson, Circuit Judge, 14th Judicial Circuit, Rock Island County

David L. Vancil, Jr., Chief Judge, 9th Judicial Circuit, Henderson County

Dora Villarreal, Rock Island County State’s Attorney 

These officials join a long list of endorsements from the state’s legal community, including prominent Republicans such as Gov. Jim Thompson who backed Kilbride before his recent death, Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justices Ben Miller and Robert Thomas, former Illinois Attorney General Ty Fahner, former United States Attorneys Anton Valukas and Dan Webb and former Illinois House Republican Leader Tom Cross (Oswego).

Raised in Kankakee, Tom Kilbride was inspired to become an attorney while helping to organize the United Farm Workers and later served as a legal aid attorney for clients in need. He served as Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice from 2010 until 2013, when he led the effort to place cameras in every courtroom across the state, pushed for digitization of records, and fought to increase access to the justice system. Kilbride was instrumental in the creation of the Illinois Supreme Court ‘Access to Justice Commission,’ which uses technology to make the courthouse accessible to people who cannot afford a lawyer. To save people from having to take a day off work, his innovative measure allows people to appear in court by phone or video rather than in person. In a long-overdue move for judicial fairness and access, he also pushed to provide certified interpreters at no-cost for those who speak limited English.

At the same time, Kilbride has developed a strong record of protecting crime victims, especially children. In 2020, he authored the majority opinion on a case that upheld barring child sex offenders from visiting public parks in Illinois. When an accused sexual predator attempted to get court authority to force a physical examination of a 3-year-old victim, Kilbride protected the child and refused to let that happen. He helped protect women and children by strengthening the ability of abused women to secure restraining orders against their attackers.

Kilbride believes in a justice system that ensures everyone’s voices are heard, not just those who have the most resources. He supported common-sense standards to prevent guilty verdicts from being unjustly overturned. In cases where the greatest consequences are at stake, Kilbride worked to ensure that true justice was carried out by backing provisions to ensure innocent people are not wrongly imprisoned.

About Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kilbride

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Tom Kilbride is an independent, common-sense judge who has devoted his career to ensuring the justice system works for all. During his time on the state’s high court he has served as Chief Justice, boosting transparency and public access. Kilbride has received more than 60 awards and honors that reflect his commitment to justice, hard work and community, including the prestigious ‘Award of Excellence in the Judiciary’ from the Illinois State Crime Commission. Kilbride, whose wife Mary teaches mathematics at Augustana College, is the proud father of three adult daughters. A graduate of Bishop McNamara High School in Kankakee and St. Mary’s College, Kilbride earned his Juris Doctor from Antioch School of Law. He also received an honorary degree from Lewis University in Will County. For more information, please visit

The Third Judicial District spans the state’s east and west borders, taking in 21 counties primarily along and just south of I-80, to encompass the metropolitan areas of Galesburg, Kankakee, Peoria, Quincy and Rock Island/Moline. Its counties include: Bureau, Fulton, Grundy, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, Iroquois, Kankakee, Knox, La Salle, Marshall, McDonough, Mercer, Peoria, Putnam, Rock Island, Stark, Tazewell, Warren, Whiteside and Will.

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A copy of our report filed with the State Board of Elections is (or will be) available on the Board’s
official website ( ) or for purchase from the State Board of Elections, Springfield, Illinois.