Vote for Suzanne Wells
To the editor:
The position of Piatt County Circuit Judge is up for grabs in the upcoming election. This position is one demanding of a figure that is honorable, just, and full of integrity. It requires a leader that will serve the people of Piatt County.
Suzanne Jennings Wells meets this criterion. She is well versed in the practice of law, serving as an attorney for over 32 years. She has a record of serving the community both legally and socially, helping to bring resources to the community in the form of Willow Tree Missions, Neighbor House, seeking opportunities for increased drug treatment options , and serving as a representative for a multitude of cases during her time as a practicing attorney. In all cases she seeks solutions that improve long term outcomes for all parties involved and demonstrates impartiality, hard work, and integrity.
She serves to represent the community as a whole and encourages resources that work to support individuals in the community.
Suzanne meets all of the criteria for a leader. She is honest, trustworthy, respectful, temperate, and would lead our community with honor. Take the time to vote. Choose a leader that will lead by example. Choose Suzanne Jennings Wells for Piatt County Circuit Judge.
Donna and James VanMatre
An endorsement for Suzanne Wells
To the editor:
My mother, Suzanne Wells, would make a fantastic circuit judge for Piatt County.
My mother is always available to lend a helping hand. Growing up, my mother was there for us kids. It didn’t matter how busy she was, what time of day it was, or what we needed, my mom was there.
As I got older, I started to notice that my mother did this for her clients, too. It didn’t matter how busy she was, what time of day it was, or what they needed, my mother worked tirelessly to ensure that her clients received the highest level of legal advice and expertise she could give.
My mother is my role model. I feel so blessed to have been raised by this incredibly loving and supportive women. She is compassionate and empathetic, intelligent and principled. Characteristics that make her a perfect fit for judge.
Suzanne Wells is an incredible woman and deserves your vote for Piatt County Circuit Judge.
Emily (Wells) Fink
A vote for Dana Rhoades
To the editor:
I am writing to endorse Dana Rhoades for Piatt County Circuit Judge. I have had the pleasure of knowing Dana personally for over twenty years. I have also had the privilege of watching her in the courtroom in her role as Piatt County States Attorney. I can say, without a doubt, that Dana is the best suited for the role of Circuit Judge based on several of her talents. She does not jump to conclusions but garners the facts before responding and she has a long and successful history of working diligently to see that justice prevails in her cases. Dana has the strength of putting her own personal prejudices aside to see that the letter of the law is followed. She holds herself accountable and follows through on the tasks at hand.
Most importantly, she has the experience to prepare her for this role due to her lengthy and successful career as States Attorney. Hands down she is the most qualified person for the job. Please support Dana Rhoades in her November bid for Piatt County Circuit Judge.
The Bar Association survey
To the editor:
I recently received a political advertisement from the Friends to Elect Dana Rhoades Piatt County Judge which was very misleading. It referenced numbers from the “Illinois State Bar Association Judicial Candidates Rating” (actually named the “ISBA Judicial Advisory Poll”). The public should view the actual poll at the ISBA’s website (isba.org/judicialevaluations/bycounty). The advertisement failed to note that more poll ballots were returned reviewing Ms. Rhoades (probably due to her higher profile) than were returned for her opponent. Reporting the percentages of the responses (as the ISBA chose to do) is a more fair reflection of the results than the number of “Yes” marks (as the advertisement reported).
The ISBA notes that 92 ballots were returned for Ms. Rhoades and 74 were returned for Ms. Wells. In the category of “Legal Ability”, Ms. Rhoades received 68/92 (or 74%) positive responses and Ms. Wells received 69/74 (or 93%) positive responses. If you only look at the number of positive ballots returned, rather than the percentages of the responses, the results are unfairly skewed in Ms. Rhoades’ favor. Please note that according to the ISBA, only 76% of the respondents to Ms. Rhoades’ poll gave her a “Yes” for “Meets Requirements Of Office”. In other words, 24% or 22 out of 92 of her peer respondents did not support Ms. Rhoades’ ability to be a judge. Ms. Wells was supported by 90% of those responding.
I would also like to point out that the cases a judge will hear are not primarily criminal cases, but rather a cross section of litigation. Ms. Rhoades’ familiarity with criminal law does not serve her better in the courtroom. Ms. Wells’ broad legal background is far more valuable on the bench
Please vote for Suzanne Wells.
Endorsing Suzanne Wells
To the editor:
I want to go on record endorsing Suzanne Wells for Piatt County Circuit Judge. My wife and I have known Suzanne for 30 years and know her values she holds and has our endorsement. We have watched as her family grew and her involvement and support of them. As a lawyer and longtime resident of Piatt County she has the experience to represent the residents of Piatt County.
With 32 years’ experience Suzanne is experienced in handling family and juvenile law, criminal defense, civil litigation and real estate matters. Suzanne has spent countless hours meeting the residents of Piatt County attending city board meetings, meeting people at local restaurants and listening to the residents of our county. Wells is also the founding Chairman of the Board of Willow Tree Missions in Monticello, the only self-funded program in Illinois to house and support victims of domestic violence. Her achievements are solid evidence of her character and integrity. We have no doubt that Suzanne will serve the residents of Piatt County faithfully.
Steve and Barbara Whisnant
Rhoades for resident judge
As a trial lawyer who has appeared in 30 counties before hundreds of judges I endorse Dana Rhoades as the next Resident Judge of Piatt County.
Ms. Rhoades exemplifies the essential attributes of a great Resident Judge. She has a strong sense of fair-dealing, a career marked with decency and respect for all litigants, and she possess a unique ability to remain dispassionately impartial in deciding the often difficult issues before her. As a judge, Ms. Rhoades would continue to serve the Piatt County community with her enduring sense of integrity which is vital for a small county judge.
Even her opponent endorsed Ms. Rhoades’ candidacy by signing Ms. Rhoades’ nominating petition for this position as Resident Judge. That opponent, later altered her own political affiliation into a self-created, non-mainstream political party merely to add herself as a candidate after the primary election had already been conducted. Political maneuvering tactics such as this are not indicative of the ideals of the judiciary. Piatt County deserves an unwavering and steadfast person to assume this important office. Ms. Rhoades is the only candidate meeting that qualification.
Ms. Rhoades’ has a long career as an ethical legal advocate. On the other hand her opponent has erred to the extent of being sanctioned by the Court, which required Ms. Wells being ordered to pay the legal fees to an opposing attorney based on Ms. Wells failure to follow the basic statutory requirements of a marital filing. Ms. Wells having been sanctioned by a Piatt County Judge does not reflect the high standards that Piatt County voters should expect of their judicial candidates.
I encourage you to vote for Dana Rhoades for Resident Judge of Piatt County.
Gregory D. Fombelle, Attorney at Law
American Solidarity Party is a choice
To the editor:
On the Illinois ballot for president/vice-president you will find the American Solidarity Party. Legally incorporate din 2016, ASP offers a refreshing approach to governance. The party’s philosophy encourages a positive, common-sense engagement of public issues without the rancor and gridlock so prominent currently.
The American Solidarity Party is also on the ballot in about a half-dozen other states and is certified for write-in in many others. In its statement of principles, these words are found: “We are a party that seeks the common good, the common ground, through common sense. We believe in the sanctity of human life, the necessity of social justice, our responsibility to care for the environment, and promotion of a more peaceful world. We cherish the individual rights and separation of government powers protected by the U.S. Constitution and recognize the need for social supports and community cohesion. We seek to bridge the bitter partisan divide with principled and respectful policies and dialogue.”
I am a member of the ASP and anyone can easily join. Simply go to the website for American Solidarity Party where you will find information about the 2020 presidential candidate and a detailed platform.
Endorsement of Dana Rhoades
To the editor:
My name is Timothy Steadman. I have been a licensed attorney since 1981. I was fortunate to serve as a judge in central Illinois for nearly 22 years, retiring from the bench in 2016. I am currently employed as the Public Defender for Piatt County. I have had occasion to observe and work with many attorneys throughout my legal career. I consider Dana to be one of the best lawyers I have encountered.
For these reasons, I am pleased to endorse Dana Rhoades as the next resident Circuit Judge for Piatt County. Dana has all of the attributes one would expect an outstanding judge to possess. She is intelligent, even-tempered, hard-working, knowledgeable in the law and fair minded. Dana has already demonstrated her commitment to serving the residents of Piatt County as State’s Attorney. I am confident she would continue to do so for many years as a circuit judge , as well
Timothy J. Steadman
Retired Circuit Judge of Macon County
Current Public Defender of Piatt County
A vote for Dana Rhoades
To the editor:
When deciding on a person to take a most critical position in Piatt Government, Resident Circuit Judge, it is important to consider the entirety of the person, character and experience.
In my 30-year career as a Northern Indiana Deputy Sheriff, city police officer, Southern Illinois Chief Probation Officer for the 2nd Judicial Circuit, and 20 years in Piatt County as the Chief Probation Officer under Judge Shonkwiler, I have had the opportunity to work with many Prosecutors and Judges. I am confident to recommend Dana Rhoades as our next Piatt County Circuit Judge.
I have worked with Dana as an attorney and State’s Attorney, on a professional and personal basis. She is extremely knowledgeable on the law for all types of cases, from murder to misdemeanors.
Dana is not only a prosecutor, but the top law enforcement officer and legal advisor for Piatt County. She has the professionalism, demeanor, and insight to make tough yet compassionate decisions in all cases.
When working for Chief Judge John Shonkwiler, I found he was a Judge to be deeply aware of every person and situation before him. I have observed Dana to possess this same quality. Like Judge Shonkwiler, she truly knows and cares for the People of Piatt County. Dana is not an attorney who appears in Court sometimes to take care of business for a client, Dana is in Court on a daily basis, as our State’s Attorney, working for justice. This is the kind of experience that is invaluable.
Dana faces tough decisions every day and does not back. As our Judge, she will continue to make these critical decisions for the Court, County, and Piatt County citizens.
My wife Phyllis and I support Dana Rhoades for Piatt County Circuit Judge and ask for your support.
Kent Usher, Retired Piatt County Chief Probation Officer
Phyllis Usher, Retired Assistant Director for
Piatt County Mental Health
Vote for Dana Rhoades
To the editor:
As former Chief Deputy for Piatt County, I saw firsthand how involved the States Attorney must be involved in working cases. As States Attorney you also have to be available to offer advice when needed to different county offices in the county.
Dana always made herself available and was always able to offer the advice we needed to pursue cases we were investigating. As States Attorney you have to know how to prepare and review search warrant affidavits for court purposes. Dana has proven herself in that area. As a Judge Dana will have no problem approving or refusing to sign the search warrant affidavit if the facts are not met.
Dana has experience on both sides, Defense and Prosecution, which will only make her more suited to be a Judge. She has the experience necessary to handle any level of criminal, civil or traffic case that she would be assigned to hear as Judge.
Dana has displayed her integrity and done her job where it has been her ethical obligation to take action. Dana is the right choice for circuit Judge.
Dana Rhoades for Circuit Judge
To the editor:
I enthusiastically endorse Dana Rhoades for Piatt County Circuit Judge.
I recently noted with great interest that Dana Rhoades intends to work towards combining resources with neighboring counties to develop and establish a drug court program. For the last several years of my 35-year career as a Deputy Sheriff with the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office I was assigned to assist the Champaign County
Drug Court. While initially skeptical, I found the program to be the most meaningful endeavor of my career. The simple truth is that drug courts save lives, save families, prevent future victimization, and save the community money that otherwise would be spent on incarceration. It is admirable that Dana Rhoades has made this a priority.
This single factor alone is sufficient to earn my endorsement, but I have also seen Dana Rhoades from a different perspective.
I first met Dana Rhoades when a member of my immediate family was the victim of a violent crime and the case was successfully prosecuted by the Piatt County State’s Attorney’s Office. I was impressed by the caring, confidence, and competence of Dana Rhoades.
Over the course of my Law Enforcement career I have had the opportunity to learn firsthand the value of a good Judge, and Dana Rhoades’ temperament and good sense make her the best candidate to serve as Piatt County Circuit Judge.
Socrates described the four qualities of a good judge in this way, “Four things belong to a judge: To hear courteously; to answer wisely; to consider soberly; and to decide impartially.” I have seen Dana Rhoades from the perspective of a Law
Enforcement professional and as a private citizen, she embodies all of these qualities and I strongly endorse her for Piatt County Circuit Judge.
I endorse Dana Rhoades
To the editor:
This letter is sent in support of my friend and colleague Dana Rhoades who is running for Piatt County Circuit Judge. I have known Dana for several years. I first met Dana when working together to form a multi-county team which focused on addressing issues of domestic violence in Piatt, Moultrie, and Douglas Counties.
As a State’s Attorney from a neighboring county, I speak from experience when I say that criminality does not know borders and, on many occasions, I have worked with Dana where crime has not stopped at the county line. Her professionalism in working with my office and our local law enforcement has been first rate.
Dana’s legal expertise, though, draws from a wide variety of experience. Prior to being elected as the State’s Attorney for Piatt County, she served in private practice where she gained a background in an array of civil matters including, but not limited to, divorce, child custody and visitation, property disputes, and orders of protection.
In rural areas judges do not have specialties. For example, on any given day they can be called upon to decide a family case followed by a felony criminal case and then an estate issue. Dana has the background necessary to rule on any case justly. She will be firm where necessary but unquestionably fair always.
She has been an asset to the people of Piatt County as a State’s Attorney and she would make a great addition to the judiciary. With all this in mind, it is my utmost privilege to recommend Dana Rhoades to you as the next Circuit Judge for Piatt County.
Please vote this year
To the editor:
Why should you Vote? Not voting doesn’t free you from responsibility for the outcome. Not voting is shirking your duty as an American citizen.
This is an election about character and values even though Republicans and the president insist it isn’t. For better and worst the president sets the direction of our nation. Do the values of honor, integrity, respect, honesty, truthfulness, fair play, old fashioned politeness matter to you? Or do you believe that winning whatever the costs is what you value the most? If you are a religious person what values do you think matter to your God?
Do you place a higher value on the person who will “sock it to the man”, the person who will give the “establishment” the finger?
Are you a bigot or a racist? Do you believe that all people (whatever their race or ethnicity, religion or no religion, immigration status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, age, social status, wealth) have equal rights under the law and deserve to be treated honestly, fairly and respectfully?
Do you really think that a president who has had several bankruptcies is a good businessman?
Is stacking the courts with conservatives more important than choosing judges that can separate their personal life and beliefs from their judicial responsibilities? Is overturning Roe vs. Wade more important than Universal Health Care, preserving Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, dealing responsibly with the COVID pandemic? If so you aren’t pro-life, you are simply an anti-abortionist.
Can you tell the difference between “real” news and “fake” news? Are you easily conned by propaganda? Do you really believe that Democrats are evil and will destroy America and only Republicans share your values? What do you value?
The future for you, your children and grandchildren is in your hands. Vote.
I endorse Suzanne Wells
To the editor:
I applaud Suzanne Wells for her decision to work for her community as a Circuit Judge. Suzanne truly has the legal ability to perform her responsibilities fairly and justly, but even more importantly the life experiences to weigh, analyze and determine the most appropriate means in which to apply the law to the individuals in a just and efficient manner.
I retired from the bench in August, 2018 after 17 years as a Circuit Judge in Will County, Illinois. But prior to my judicial career, I had the incredible benefit of being Suzanne’s law partner. We were law partners for 6 years and were some of the only women doing trial work in Will County during that time.
For added support, for ourselves and others, we formed the Will County Women’s Bar Association and that organization still thrives today.
I witnessed her dedication to the law, her zealous appeal for our clients and her practical manner of her management of our law firm.
I encourage you to be an informed voter. Select the judicial candidate that has the temperament, dedication to the law, strong work ethic and practical life skills to provide Piatt County the best judiciary. Please vote for Suzanne Wells.
Goose Creek Wind a good opportunity
To the editor:
The Goose Creek Wind Farm represents a sizable economic opportunity for Piatt County. This is a county that has shown a struggle to balance its books and I hope it doesn’t turn away from renewable energy development and the large tax base it brings. This is a win across the board. Schools receive long-term tax revenue from the projects, putting an emphasis on the education of our future. Farming landowners gain a diversified income, safeguarding against price drops and poor yields. Illinois takes a step forward in the fight against pollution and climate change.
Misinformation spread through Facebook can sadly influence county officials to impose regulations that they believe will keep their county safe. Safe from what exactly? These windmills pose no health concerns, no matter what they try to tell you. They just don’t want to look at the darned things!
The Zoning Board of Appeals will be reviewing the Piatt County wind ordinance this Thursday, Oct 22nd. If they listen to the facts, and look at the economic impact this will have, the choice will be clear. Pass a reasonable wind ordinance that allows a path forward for renewable wind development, just like many of Piatt’s neighbors.