Lake County Voters:
I write this letter to urge you to vote for Democratic candidate Chris Kennedy for Lake County State’s Attorney. I have practiced law almost exclusively in Lake County for the last 18 years. I spent five years as a criminal prosecutor in the Lake County State’s Attorney’s office, and I have spent the last 15 years in private practice concentrating in civil litigation and criminal defense.
There are many reasons why Chris is clearly the more qualified candidate. Chris is one of the most intelligent lawyers I have ever met. His integrity is unparalleled. He is extremely diligent, hard working, and has a track record of leadership in the community.
Following are two of the attributes which set Chris far apart from his opponent:
1. DIVERSITY OF EXPERIENCE:
People sometimes overlook the fact that there are two divisions in the State’s Attorney’s office: criminal and civil. Everyone knows about the Criminal Division. But the Civil Division is vitally important to the administration of justice in Lake County. The Civil Division defends claims and lawsuits filed against the County and County officials, handles zoning, eminent domain and other land use cases, handles tax appeals, and acts as legal advisor to the Lake County Board. A State’s Attorney’s effective oversight and administration of the Civil Division can save Lake County taxpayers millions of dollars per year, and at the same time, ensures that its citizens are being treated fairly in the civil justice system.
Both Chris and his opponent, Mike Nerheim, have extensive experience in the criminal justice system. Chris Kennedy has 14 years of experience in a wide variety of complex civil litigation. On the other hand, Mike Nerheim has no known experience in the civil justice system. Therefore, Chris is clearly the only candidate qualified to run the Civil Division of the State’s Attorney’s office.
2. WILLINGNESS, COURAGE, AND ABILITY TO MAKE CHANGES.
I have a tremendous amount of respect for Mike Waller for the job he has done as the Lake County State’s Attorney over the past 22 years. I also recognize that there are a lot of very good, hard-working prosecutors in his office. However, over the past few years, mistakes have been made in that office. There have also been many opportunities for change and growth, yet no change or growth has occurred. As a result, the Lake County State’s Attorney’s office is now the target of harsh criticism from the local media, the national media and the Appellate Court.
Changes need to be made in that office. Different policies need to be developed and implemented. Personnel changes need to be made. The culture of the office needs to change. Chris has outlined specific programs designed to implement the changes that need to be made, and these programs will work. Once he takes office, he has the courage and independence to make the necessary personnel changes to restore trust and credibility in the State’s Attorney’s office.
Mr. Nerheim, of course, is the Republican candidate. Republicans have run the Lake County State’s Attorney’s office for the past 32 years. Mr. Nerheim has the support of Mike Waller, the Lake County Republican machinery, and virtually every single Assistant State’s Attorney in Lake County. In other words, he is receiving financial and political support from the same people, culture, and institutions that need to be changed in order to restore trust and credibility to the office. If Mr. Nerheim is elected, the bold reform and necessary changes simply won’t happen.
The Lake County State’s Attorney’s office has a great and proud tradition. Recently, the reputation of the office has taken a beating. There is no reason why the Lake County State’s Attorney’s office can’t be a model for other State’s Attorney’s offices across the country. As voters, if you want a State’s Attorney who will make the changes necessary to restore trust and credibility in the Lake County State’s Attorney’s office, then there is only one choice.
Vote for Chris Kennedy.
-Don Morrison, Attorney