Mt. Vernon Register-News

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November 7, 2012

Hoffman, Knox win races

Hoffman won for State’s Attorney while Knox was victorious as County Treasurer

MT. VERNON — — After months of campaigning, Republican Douglas Hoffman has won the race for State’s Attorney with 9,204 votes, while Republican Dan Knox won for Jefferson County Treasurer with 9,748 votes.

Hoffman took 58 percent of the votes while his competitor Nobel Dowell received 41 percent or 6,420 votes.  Knox took 62 percent of the vote while opponent Sabrina (Eastham) Wheatley received 37 percent or 5,942 votes.

Hoffman was appointed to the position of State’s Attorney the last week of December 2011. Before being appointed as State’s Attorney, Hoffman practiced law for five years. He has served as legal counsel for the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, is a past president of the Downtown Mt. Vernon Development Corporation, a past president of the Jefferson County Bar Association, a member of Mt. Vernon Rotary Club, a board member of YMCA of Jefferson County and a member of the Knights of Columbus St. Mary Parish.

Hoffman said he has achieved positive results in the criminal justice system during his time as State’s Attorney. He added he has reduced the backlog of pending felonies by resolving over 550 cases in the past 10 months. Hoffman also said he will never let up the fight to make Jefferson County a “safer place to live, work and play.”

Hoffman said he was feeling great after the unofficial election results were announced and that he was very happy with the outcome of the race.

“I look forward to serving the county for the next four years,” he said. “I have learned that the hard work does pay off in this job.”

Hoffman said being diligent, firm, fair and consistent are important qualities in the job and he plans to continue in the path he has been on since he was appointed to the position. He said his past work as an attorney coupled with the work he has been doing as State’s Attorney has paid off.

“I want to thank the citizens of the county for their vote of confidence,” Hoffman said. “The margin of victory showed that we are doing things right.”

Running against Hoffman, Democrat Noble Dowell said he has the experience that the current office holder is lacking. Dowell said he has extensive experience in the state and federal courts in both criminal and civil law. He believes “everyone should be treated as equals with fairness but justice for all.”

Dowell is a third generation attorney in Southern Illinois. His grandfather began practicing law in 1900, his father in 1930 and he started his practice in 1976. He graduated from the University of South Dakota School of Law, and interned with the U.S. Attorney, District South Dakota, prosecuting federal crimes before entering his family’s private practice.

Dowell said he will continue working for the people, despite his loss.

“Obviously I’m disappointed because I wanted to be State’s Attorney and I did feel that I was more experienced,” Dowell said. “But Doug is an honorable man and I know he will always be honorable. I hope he continues to be an honorable guy even in these hard times. He is a young man. He has a whole lot ahead of himself and I just ask blessings upon him and blessings upon Jefferson County.”

Dowell does not yet know if he will run for office again, but said he will wait to see what the future holds.

Knox was appointed to complete the term of Jefferson County Treasurer after the resignation of Debbie Marlow in June of 2011. Knox said the most important issues facing the county treasurer are security, liquidity and yield of Jefferson County taxpayer money. He is also working to continue to improve the fiscal standing and policies of Jefferson County.

Knox, who has spent the last three years teaching third grade for District 80 at the Primary Center, is a Woodlawn resident who has been a life-long resident of Jefferson County. Prior to his teaching career, he was a sales manager and a sales representative for Royal Wholesale.

Knox said he is thankful for the support he received from his family and friends during the race.

“I got to thank God for giving me everything that I have,” he added. “Elections are won, not by signs, not by flyers, but by meeting people and finding out what they believe in. That’s what helped me win.”

Knox said he knows there is still work to be done, but he is confident in his ability and knowledge in how to run the treasurer’s office.

“We are going to continue to find ways to save money,” he said. “We are going to continue to look at ways to limit the red flags for fraud. We want to find ways to save money in everything that we do and make sure the people’s tax payer dollars are secure and that is an ever-changing thing that we do.”

Knox said he is also thankful for the help he received from Debbie Marlow as well.

“I knew that with [her] help that I had a very good chance of winning,” he said.

Democrat Sabrina (Eastham) Wheatley announced her plans to run for the Jefferson County Treasurer after previous Democratic challenger Karen Herzing-Williams officially withdrew from the November ballot for the position.

She said she ran for treasurer because it is important to that the person who is in the position have a financial background. Wheatley believes it is important for all citizens of the county be more informed about their taxes.

Wheatley said with her 25 years of experience would help her win the vote, but said she did not realize how politicized the race would be.

“It was a great experience for me because this is the first time I ran for political office,” she said. “I am pleased that we both ran a clean campaign. We both laid out the facts. It’s a little disheartening to realize that qualifications don’t mean anything in politics. But that’s okay, I have learned from it and I’m a better person for it”

Wheatley said she will not be running for the position in the next election.

“I wish Dan only the best because I live in this county and I want what’s best for this county,” she added.

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