Morgan County State’s Attorney race highlights last night’s forum

By Gary Scott on October 13, 2016 at 10:06am

The race for Morgan County State’s Attorney took center stage at last night’s Morgan County League of Women Voters open forum.

Current State’s Attorney Gray Noll and his opponent, Democratic candidate Tyson Manker, highlighted their qualifications for the job and what they hoped to accomplish if elected.

Noll took over as Morgan County State’s Attorney in January after Robert Bonjean stepped down from the position. Noll pointed out his 14 years of experience in the legal system, which includes time as Sangamon County’s Assistant State’s Attorney.

Manker has two years as a trial attorney under his belt, during which he has dealt with felony and misdemeanor cases. Manker feels he has the necessary experience for the job and “good set of judgment” to go along with it.

As reported earlier by WLDS-WEAI News, Manker hopes to form a Veteran’s Treatment Court in Morgan County, which he brought up again last night.

“We are going to be creating a Veteran’s Treatment Court in the next year. Working together, we’ve already assembled a team of professional Veterans representatives. This is something that is very important to Veterans. We have a large Veteran community in Morgan County. For the last six years, our lawmakers have been enabled the judiciary to create Veterans Treatment Courts. Has that happened? No,” says Manker.

Noll offered his rebuttal, saying the position of State’s Attorney does not have such authority.

“I’m all for starting a Veterans Court here in Morgan County. It’s a little disingenuous, though, because a State’s Attorney, by statute, doesn’t have authority to start a Veterans Court. Only the Chief Judge of the Circuit can start that. If he wants to run for an office that can create a Veterans Court, he’s running for the wrong office, and I think it’s disingenuous for him to tell people he will start it within the next six months,” Noll explains.

Manker, who was heavily involved in the 2014 Illinois State Police Report involving three elected officials who all stepped down from their roles at Village Hall, says he wants to ensure ethical behavior among public officials.

“If elected, I will be looking into creating a permanent sitting ethics committee so that whiste-blowers across the county, do not face the retaliation that they faced in South Jacksonville. I don’t ever want that to happen again in this county and when I am elected, we will have a safe haven for whistle-blowers who bring legitimate claims of wrongdoing by public officials in this county,” Manker says.

Noll and Manker also reviewed their stances on prosecuting victims and handling domestic violence cases.

The forum also featured candidates for Judge in the Seventh Circuit, which include Rick Verticchio, Ryan Madigan, David Reid and April Troemper. Junius Rodriguez, who is running as a Representative for the 18th Congressional District, was present, but his incumbent opponent Darin LaHood was absent.

Election Day is November 8th. To hear the rest of the debate, click below.