KANKAKEE — Kankakee County State’s Attorney Jim Rowe made it official on Tuesday. He is running for re-election.
The Democrat made the announcement standing on the steps of the Kankakee County Courthouse where four years ago, he announced he was running for the office he won in the 2016 election.
“I don’t know when I decided to run for re-election, but I feel like we have made good progress, and we aren’t done yet,” Rowe told the Daily Journal.
Among the 100 people who attended Tuesday’s announcement were several elected officials — Democrat, Republican and Libertarian.
More than eight years ago, Rowe left the Republican Party.
As longtime Kankakee County Coroner Bob Gessner said in endorsing Rowe, “He’s a prosecutor, not a politician.”
Like Gessner, Sheriff Mike Downey is a Republican. He said party affiliation doesn’t matter when it comes to the job Rowe and his staff have done since taking office in December 2016.
“The support transcends party affiliation,” Downey said. “When it comes to the question does it matter for the county, that is what matters to Jim.”
Democratic Kankakee Alderman Carl Brown said “justice is a two-sided coin” since Rowe took office.
“He has put justice on a new platform,” Brown said.
Rowe appreciated the bipartisan support but realizes justice knows no political party.
“I also don’t think politics matters in this job, the laws read the same whether you are a Republican or Democrat,” Rowe said. “People look for a prosecutor who is fair but tough, with a balanced approach to justice and restorative justice. We are putting people before party, policy before politics.”
In the November 2016 general election, Rowe defeated Republican Ed Glazar, a Kankakee attorney, who was the county’s chief public defender at one time.
Rowe ran for the office in 2012, losing to then-State’s Attorney Jamie Boyd. Boyd decided against running for re-election in 2016.
Instead he ran for an open circuit judge seat and lost to now Chief Judge Michael Kramer in the GOP primary.
Rowe said he hopes to maintain the progress his office has made in the past three years.
He talked about reforming the juvenile justice system into a model for the state that “narrows the pipeline from juvenile court to adult prisons.”
“I want to continue to improve our efforts in reducing domestic violence and supporting survivors, especially among teen dating relationships,” Rowe said.
“Juvenile weapons offenses and gang prosecutions desperately need a dedicated prosecutor, so we will continue to explore grant opportunities. I would estimate that we have doubled the grant funding in our office over the past three years, so our track record strengthens our ability to attract necessary grants to address these issues in the near future.”
Rowe said he will continue to be tough on sex offenders and those arrested for drugs.