Two men say they've got what it takes to put a dent in crime in Winnebago County. Glen Weber and Joe Bruscato are on the ballot in the race for State's Attorney.
Democrat Joe Bruscato is the incumbent. He's been in charge of the Winnebago County State's Attorney's Office for the past four years. The office has a budget of about $4 million, with a staff of more than 80 people. Soon, about 50 lawyers will be members of the staff to try cases. Bruscato took over in 2008, and had to bring the office through some pretty tough economic times.
"Jail population is down 10 percent and our conviction rates are rising, and we're having a lot of successes on high profile cases and I think the community appreciates that," Bruscato says.
Republican Glen Weber is no stranger to the State's Attorney's Office, either. He spent more than 20 years prosecuting criminals as a First Assistant State's Attorney in Winnebago County from 1987 to 2000 and again from 2004 to 2006. Weber was also elected State's Attorney in nearby Jo Daviess County in 2000. He says his experience prosecuting criminals and doing civil litigation make him the right person for the job.
"There is no handle on this crime problem by the present State's Attorney," Weber says. "This will change. This will change with me doing what I did for 21 years, continuing on with my reputation as a tough, effective, efficient prosecutor."
Bruscato's running for re-election because he says he cares about this community, and wants to make it a better place to live. He feels combating crime is the way to make that happen. Bruscato vows not to go soft on those breaking the law. "It's what drives me," he says. "It gives me an opportunity to do something in my community that is going to have an immediate impact."
Weber promises to be tough on criminals, too. He feels that's an area lacking now. "Cases are three, four, and five years old, costing the taxpayers of Winnebago County hundreds of thousands of dollars because of the mismanagement of the present administration."
Both men say they have a passion for the job, and feel a call to do it.
"It's about truth in justice, and that is what I love to do is speak about the truth and speak about justice, and that's why I'm involved in this race," Weber says.
"I love being a part of something that is impacting my community everyday, I know for some people that sounds very simple and to some, trite, but it's what's important," says Bruscato.
The State's Attorney's candidates are scheduled to debate on October 10 from 7 to 8 p.m. at Rockford College's Fisher Memorial Chapel.
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