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Local

Donnelly runs for second term as top prosecutor

Tonica woman says her opponents have close ties to the prior state’s attorney

LaSalle County State’s Attorney Karen Donnelly, a Tonica Republican, announced on Facebook she will be campaigning for a second term in office.

Donnelly announced her platform will include citing past history of reducing costs for taxpayers, standing up against corruption and a 100 percent conviction record of homicide cases during her tenure.

Donnelly, the first woman state’s attorney in LaSalle County, was elected in 2016 when she defeated incumbent Brian Towne. She charged him with 17 felony counts of official misconduct, and the case was appointed to a special prosecutor. The trial was dismissed because Towne’s speedy trial rights were compromised.

A former assistant to both Donnelly and Towne, Brian Vescogni, and Mendota attorney Todd Martin are also vying for the position.

“This election is about keeping LaSalle County safe for every family to live, work, attend school, worship and follow their dreams,” Donnelly said.

“Now is not a time to turn back to the failed insider crony politics of the past. That is precisely what my declared opponents represent. Both are close associates of the previous state’s attorney, Mr. Towne, whose time in office was plagued with allegations of scandal.

“In contrast to them, I offer the people of LaSalle County a commitment to build upon my record of keeping our communities safe and leading by example as an ethical steward of taxpayer dollars,” she said.

Donnelly also prosecuted the LaSalle County auditor and two of her deputy clerks. The auditor was found not guilty by a judge, one of the deputy clerks not guilty by a jury trial and the third charged was dismissed prior to trial.

Donnelly also cited her work preparing a drug court and mental court funded through grants that she said have proved in the past to reduce incarceration rates for non-violent offenders and help those with substance abuse or mental health issues get the treatment they need.

She also added the office’s budget has decreased each of the past three years under her tenure.

Donnelly said she’s also prioritized local feedback through the method of hosting community forums and visiting schools.

“I want to build upon the national trend toward criminal justice reform and make LaSalle County a leader among the 102 counties in Illinois as a modern, cost-efficient and forward-thinking system that allows non-violent offenders who have completed their sentence to integrate back into the community with dignity and the ability to make a new life for themselves and their family,” Donnelly said.

“The momentum that began when I was elected as your state’s attorney was made possible by the hard work and dedication of the men and women who work in our office. I am running again so that together, we can continue to deliver results and never stop doing what’s right for LaSalle County families.”

Donnelly lives in Tonica with her husband of 30 years, Richard Donnelly.

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