The race for the Cumberland County State’s Attorney office is between Republican incumbent Barry E. Schaefer, Democrat Shon A. Park and Independent Jonathan T. Braden. All of the races for county board members are contested. The race for coroner is between Republican Jean-Pierre Kruchten and Democrat Donna Whitaker and the race for circuit clerk is between Republican Tracy Will, Democrat Golda Dunn and Independent Ashley G. Keach.
Name: Barry E. Schaefer
Family: wife, Linda, five children, two grandchildren
Educational background: Juris Doctorate from Washington University School of Law in St. Louis (1986), bachelor’s degree from Eastern Illinois University, graduate of Effingham High School
Occupation: State’s attorney of Cumberland County
Political Background: Cumberland County states attorney for 10 years
Memberships: Illinois Bar Association, Coles-Cumberland Bar Association, Cumberland County Farm Bureau
Why are you running for this position: I am running for re-election because I have 19 years experience as a prosecutor and want to continue to serve the citizens of Cumberland County. There is only one attorney in the office of state’s attorney of Cumberland County and experience and knowledge of prosecution is vital to the county. In addition to that, I reside with my family in Cumberland County and enjoy raising our family in the Cumberland County community.
What qualifies you for this position: I have been the Cumberland County state’s attorney since 2002 and prior to that I was an assistant state’s attorney of Coles County, assistant state’s attorney of Effingham County, public defender of Jasper County, and worked in private practice for a total of 26 years, 19 of which I have been a prosecutor. In my 26 years, I have done over 100 jury trials. Cases have ranged from murder, reckless homicide, aggravated sexual assault and other felonies down to misdemeanors and traffic offenses. I have also done hundreds of bench trials and many times that number of motion hearings, hundreds of juvenile hearings covering cases of juvenile delinquency and abuse and neglect of children. In addition, I have been a adjunct professor at several local community colleges where I have taught business law and criminal law.
What are two things you would like to accomplish if re-elected: Cumberland County has been one of the leading contributors to the Southeastern Illinois Drug Task Force due to our successful drug prosecutions and I will continue to work with state and local law enforcement to battle drug offenses, especially those involving synthetic and prescription drugs that have been appearing in a higher percentage of the cases we encounter. I will continue my open door policy that allows citizens to voice their concerns and follow up on criminal proceedings and to continue treating the citizens of Cumberland County with honesty, integrity, dignity and fairness, no matter who they are and to ensure that Cumberland County remains safe and the kind of place we can all be proud of.
Name: Shon A. Park
Family: One child, Cody, who is a freshman at Eastern Illinois University
Educational background: 1985 graduate of University of Illinois College of Law and undergraduate at University of Illinois in Champaign
Occupation: Owner of solo practice, Park Law, with our office in Greenup since 2006
Memberships: Member of Illinois State Bar Association, past member of Illinois Traveler’s Association and American Travel Lawyer’s Association, sponsor of many community activities including 4-H, Greenup Fall Festival, Toledo Spring Festival and various other local activities.
Why are you running for this position: As your state’s attorney, I will work diligently to prosecute offenders in a timely manner and will have sympathy for the victims. My office will work diligently to ensure just prosecution to those who will attack our safety, prosperity or well being.
What qualifies you for this position: My education, training, background, life experience and the over 25 years experience in handling felony, misdemeanor, traffic and juvenile actions and also my vast experience in handling civil matters to adequately provide representation to the Cumberland County board and office holders.
What are two things you would like to accomplish if elected: We need to work together as a community in order to make a better tomorrow. This includes working with all law enforcement and having an open door policy to allow access to the chief law enforcement officer of Cumberland County.
Name: Jonathan T. Braden
Family: wife, Alissa (Holsapple), and son, Brooks
Educational Background: Graduate of Neoga High School, Eastern Illinois University (B.S.) and Northern Illinois University (J.D.)
Occupation: Assistant state’s attorney in Jefferson County
Memberships: Knights of Columbus, Neoga Booster Club, Cumberland Booster Club, Illinois State Bar Association
Why are you running for this position: This is an opportunity to continue working as a prosecutor in my hometown county. It would be a privilege to serve our community as the state’s attorney and to work with our local law enforcement and probation department to ensure that all criminal activity in our county is met with meaningful consequences.
What qualifies you for this position: I have spent the past year working as an assistant state’s attorney in Jefferson County, where I handle the prosecution of all traffic and misdemeanor cases in addition to all felony DUI and felony domestic violence cases. I have successfully prosecuted dozens of bench trials and 2 jury trials this year. I have also successfully argued numerous motion hearings on behalf of the state. I have worked in conjunction with the other attorneys in our office to reduce the pending caseload in Jefferson County while increasing the conviction rate of felony offenders.
What are two things you would like to accomplish if elected: My first priority as the Cumberland County state’s attorney would be to work closely with our probation department to monitor all defendants who have been sentenced by the court. My second priority would be to increase the conviction rate of felony criminal cases in our county. Establishing credibility with defendants in our county will allow the state’s attorney to more effectively enter into negotiated pleas with defendants. This will also help deter criminal activity in our county, as our community will be on notice that all criminal behavior will be met with appropriate punishment.