By RICK HAYES firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — MT. VERNON — Jefferson County’s DARE officer for the past four years, Joey Porter has announced his intentions to seek the Democratic nomination for sheriff in 2014.
Porter joins GOP candidate John Lewis, who announced his candidacy recently. Sheriff Roger Mulch has not announced his formal candidacy, although he has indicated he will seek re-election. This is Porter’s first venture into politics.
“I served my country for almost 21 years. The last 13 years I’ve served my community as a deputy. I want to serve my community in a larger role. I’ve always dreamed of being sheriff,” said the 45-year-old Porter, who was born and raised and still resides in the Bluford area.
“I’m running a clean campaign on my merits. That’s what the people want,” Porter said.
Porter says his Army background has given him the experience needed to become an administrator of the sheriff’s office.
“I worked in personnel administration in the Army from 1994 through 2008, retiring as a first sargent,” he said, adding that he worked at the Bonnie Police Department from 2008 to 2010, and graduated with a 4.0 grade point average from Rend Lake College with a degree in criminal justice.
Porter said he will bring enthusiasm, youth, and a “fresh eye” if elected sheriff, and a military background.
“That will help me with leadership skills and give me a lot of tools as far as organization and discipline are concerned,” Porter said.
Porter was assigned as the county’s DARE officer in 2009, working with students in county schools to help prevent children from using drugs and tobacco. His assignment ended in May 2012.
“I would like to bring back the DARE program or a similar anti-drug program to our community schools,” Porter said.
Porter is also supportive of conceal carry.
“I’m a member of the NRA (National Rifle Association) and I believe citizens properly trained have the right to conceal carry. I think what Illinois has done has made it too restrictive. They’re doing their best to keep conceal carry out of lawful citizens hands. It shouldn’t be that tough for a law-abiding citizen to be able to carry,” Porter said.
Porter and his wife of 26 years, Paula (Sexton), have three children: Kyle, 11; Mickayla Walker; and Lynn Simmons, who resides in Edwardsville. The Porters have raised 12 foster children.
Porter is a member of Hoits Addition Baptist Church, where is serves as a deacon and Sunday School teacher. He is also the co-founder of JC Challenge.