“It’s America. Anyone can run for office,” he said.
Yes, indeed. And voters win when there is a choice.
Fairview Heights Police Chief Nick Gailius said he is seeking the Republican nomination to challenge Watson. Gailius is making the bid after a successful career in Fairview Heights.
Since joining the department at age 19, Gailius served as dispatcher, patrolman, undercover agent, detective, sergeant, emergency services and disaster agency coordinator, lieutenant, assistant chief and since 2010 as police chief. He was just honored as Illinois’ police chief of the year.
Watson has similar credentials, moving through the ranks and ending as chief in Cahokia.
Both men earned master’s degrees. Both were graduated from the FBI Academy.
Good candidates. Good credentials. Great to have a choice.
A robust campaign will put attention on the choices St. Clair County made to fund an airport at the expense of jail overcrowding and patrol deputies. It should focus on leadership and the abilities of each man to change the county’s priorities.
Watson should tell us how he will do that when he’s been unable to do so since fellow Democrats appointed him to the job in 2012. Gailius should tell us how a political outsider can bring about those changes.
There will be other issues, but all else pales compared to having a deputy show up when you call and ensuring a jail lawsuit doesn’t further eat the county budget.