Name: Katherine Ruocco
Office seeking: Twentieth Judicial Circuit Judge
City of residence: Swansea
Campaign website: www.RuoccoForJudge.com
Why are you running and why should you be nominated? I’m running to help protect the independence, integrity and fairness of the 20th Judicial Circuit, and keep politics out of the courtroom. In doing so, I hope public confidence will be restored. I have a proven track record of standing up for “We the People” who are often forgotten in Illinois government. I’m a former Republican Precinct Committeeman. In 2014/2016 I challenged twenty-plus year entrenched Democrats Sen. James Clayborne and Rep. Jay Hoffman, as no other Republican would do so. It was the right thing to do to help spread our message of fiscal responsibility. I’m highly qualified: practicing attorney since 2003 in nearly every practice area, extensive courtroom experience, VA Accredited Attorney (since 2008), CASA certified, Swansea Village Trustee (2013-2017), legal resource for numerous organizations advocating for seniors/people w/disabilities/veterans (such as AARP), legal reference material author, and working with the court/social service agencies to protect our most vulnerable. My opponent has a concerning record: Hilmes filed for personal bankruptcy in 2010. He has in the past created two corporations, which had a total of three involuntary dissolutions.
There is a voluntary drug testing program in place for St. Clair County judges. Would you, if elected, participate in the program? Why or why not? If elected I would participate in this program. I fully support drug testing of our judges and believe that all judges should participate in this program. Judges are in a unique position where their decisions and judgment have far reaching implications affecting the future of individuals, businesses and our community. We need to be certain that our judges are acting with clear mind and are free from any influences that would cause them to compromise the integrity of their decisions. Ensuring that our judges are not compromised by drug use is critical to safeguard the integrity and fairness in our Court.
The St. Clair County judiciary has been the source of some scandal in recent history. St. Clair County Judge Michael Cook, a Democrat, was convicted of heroin possession. St. Clair County Judge Ronald Duebbert, a Republican, currently faces sex and intimidation charges. What could you offer to the voters to ensure that you, if elected, would not bring more scrutiny to the bench? Honesty, integrity, hard work and perseverance are basic tenets of my lifestyle. As with most of us I needed to work for what I have and to support my family. Through the use of Pell grants and student loans, I worked my way through undergraduate, graduate and law school, with children, while working full-time, and with part of this time as a single mother. I was taught from a young age that honesty, integrity, service to others, and keeping promises is highly important. I have a track record of practicing these values. I’m not afraid to stand up for what’s right, challenge the status quo, and I’ve demonstrated this repeatedly. If elected, wouldn’t succumb to political pressure and would be the first person to call out anyone who does.
What talents would you bring to the bench if you are elected? I have practiced law since 2003, have litigated trials (representing both plaintiffs and defendants), and have practiced in nearly every area of law. I’m able to communicate effectively at many varying levels and explain complicated legal issues in a way that’s understandable. I’m even tempered and can treat others with professional courtesy even when such treatment is not given to me. I’m able to be impartial and fair. Having done managing consulting work for Fortune 500 companies, owning/operating successful small businesses of my own, and owning/operating three law offices with extensive caseloads, I’ve developed the ability to manage a high volume of work, and be diligent, prompt, and effective in the services that I provide.
Where do you feel you could best help if you are elected? Major civil? Traffic? Felony? Miscellaneous remedies? Why? Given my nearly 15 years of practicing law in many areas and having extensive practice experience, I could effectively serve in whatever area that I am assigned.