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Justice Kilbride endorsed by the Italian American Political Coalition

Staff Writer
Canton Daily Ledger

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kilbride is proud to receive the endorsement of the Italian American Political Coalition (IAPC) as he seeks retention to the state’s highest court, serving as further recognition of his dedication to ensuring everyone receives equal treatment under the law.

Founded in 1994, the IAPC provides a political voice for the Italian-American community and represents a diverse group of community and corporate leaders from across the state.

In issuing the endorsement, IAPC Rules Committee Chairman Richard F. Pellegino said the coalition overwhelmingly voted to endorse Kilbride because he upholds the group’s values.

This endorsement adds to the bipartisan coalition of supporters backing Kilbride, which includes elected officials, law enforcement, organized labor, legal professionals and business leaders from across the Third Judicial District. Among the numerous prominent Republicans endorsing Kilbride are Gov. Jim Thompson, who backed Kilbride before his recent death, former Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justices Ben Miller and Robert Thomas, former Illinois Attorney General Ty Fahner, former United States Attorneys Anton Valukas and Dan Webb and former Illinois House Republican Leader Tom Cross.

To retain his position on the state Supreme Court, Kilbride will need favorable votes from 60% of the voters who mark an answer to this question on their ballots. Additional endorsements can be found at www.kilbride2020.com.

“I am grateful for the endorsement of the Italian American Political Coalition, as we share in the goal of ensuring that everyone is able to have their voice heard, especially in our judicial system,” said Kilbride. “I have dedicated my career to advocating for our courts to treat all who come before them the same, so that everyone can get a fair shake, not just the rich and powerful.”

Raised in Kankakee, Kilbride was inspired to become an attorney while helping to organize the United Farm Workers and later served as a legal aid attorney for clients in need. He served as Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice from 2010 until 2013, when he led the effort to place cameras in every courtroom across the state, pushed for digitization of records, and fought to increase access to the justice system. Kilbride was instrumental in the creation of the Illinois Supreme Court “Access to Justice Commission,” which uses technology to make the courthouse accessible to people who cannot afford a lawyer. To save people from having to take a day off work, his innovative measure allows people to appear in court by phone or video rather than in person. In a long-overdue move for judicial fairness and access, he also pushed to provide certified interpreters at no-cost for those who speak limited English.

At the same time, Kilbride has developed a strong record of protecting crime victims, especially children. In 2020, he authored the majority opinion on a case that upheld barring child sex offenders from visiting public parks in Illinois. When an accused sexual predator attempted to get court authority to force a physical examination of a 3-year-old victim, Kilbride protected the child and refused to let that happen. He helped protect women and children by strengthening the ability of abused women to secure restraining orders against their attackers.

Kilbride believes in a justice system that ensures everyone’s voices are heard, not just those who have the most resources. He supported common-sense standards to prevent guilty verdicts from being unjustly overturned. In cases where the greatest consequences are at stake, Kilbride worked to ensure that true justice was carried out by backing provisions to ensure innocent people are not wrongly imprisoned.

About Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kilbride

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Tom Kilbride is an independent, common-sense judge who has devoted his career to ensuring the justice system works for all. During his time on the state’s high court he served as Chief Justice, boosting transparency and public access. Kilbride has received more than 60 awards and honors that reflect his commitment to justice, hard work and community, including the prestigious ‘Award of Excellence in the Judiciary’ from the Illinois State Crime Commission. Kilbride, whose wife Mary teaches mathematics at Augustana College, is the proud father of three adult daughters. A graduate of Bishop McNamara High School in Kankakee and St. Mary’s College, Kilbride earned his Juris Doctor from Antioch School of Law. He also received an honorary degree from Lewis University in Will County. For more information, please visit www.kilbride2020.com.

The Third Judicial District spans the state's east and west borders, taking in 21 counties primarily along and just south of I-80, to encompass the metropolitan areas of Galesburg, Kankakee, Peoria, Quincy and Rock Island/Moline. Its counties include: Bureau, Fulton, Grundy, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, Iroquois, Kankakee, Knox, La Salle, Marshall, McDonough, Mercer, Peoria, Putnam, Rock Island, Stark, Tazewell, Warren, Whiteside and Will.