Metro-East News

Gomric says he’ll go with an ‘all hands on deck approach’ as St. Clair state’s attorney

St. Clair County has its new state’s attorney.

The county board on Monday approved James A. Gomric’s appointment as state’s attorney, replacing Brendan Kelly who resigned to become the director of the Illinois State Police.

The Gomric name is a familiar one in St. Clair County politics. Gomric’s brother, Steve, is a county board member, and his sister, Jennifer Gomric Minton, is the county assessor.

“I believe that by way of the talents and abilities that I possess, the leadership qualities that I have been endowed, that I’m fully capable of providing good assistance to the people of this county,” Gomric said. “If by way of my career path, that means that it’s in the political realm, then I’ll take my talents and abilities that have held me in good stead thus far and apply to myself and work harder than anyone else, not only being the best prosecutor I can be, but being the best leader that I can be.”

His wife, Julia, is an associate judge in the county who handles eviction cases and arbitration on civil cases.

The ongoing challenges the St. Clair County State’s Attorney’s office faces including dealing with violent crime and opioid addiction, Gomric said.

“I think you have to go with an all hands on deck approach, in all candor. You’re going to do everything within your power to educate minor children, to avoid if at all possible, the circumstance by nipping it in the bud ... You’re going to engage in interdiction efforts.”

He added there are programs that are used to help treat people with addictions.

Gomric has contributed to local Democratic candidates. Since 2000, he has contributed $3,350 to local campaigns, according to the State Board of Elections.

Since the 2013-14 cycle, Gomric contributed $4,800 to Democratic candidates for federal office including Kelly, according to Federal Elections Commission records.

“Jim is a noted attorney, has a great reputation, he’s experienced on both the prosecution and defense side,” said St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern, a Democrat. “I think he’s going to bring a lot of heart, a lot passion to the office, and I really look forward to working with him.”

Gomric has said he plans to run in 2020, but Kern said qualifications played the key role in his choice, rather than election concerns.

“I think someone who is qualified is of utmost importance and that’s the main consideration for appointing Jim,” Kern said.

Gomric worked in the state’s attorney’s office from 1995-98, and then a public defender. He has been in private practice since and has worked with clients in state and federal court.

Gomric had about 100 clients he was managing for which he has found representation. The state appellate prosecutor’s office also will be available to handle criminal cases for the state’s attorney’s office in which Gomric was involved in as the defense attorney.

Gomric said he does not plan any personnel changes in the interim basis.

In other action

St. Clair County Intergovernmental Grants Director Terry Beach, who has worked more than 40 years in the public sector, is retiring this week. Beach, who also runs the economic development department for the county, was honored at the county board meeting on Monday.

Beach said he plans on being involved in local civic organizations in the St. Louis region.

Rick Stubblefield, the county’s Workforce Development coordinator, was appointed to replace Beach.

“The department is in great hands,” Beach said.

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