Hitzemann running for judge

Chris Hitzemann

Monroe County State’s Attorney Chris Hitzemann, a Republican, officially announced Thursday evening that he is running in the Twentieth Judicial Circuit Court as resident judge for Monroe County in the November 2020 election.

Longtime Judge Dennis Doyle, a Democrat, last week announced his retirement date of Dec. 6, 2020, although the vacancy wasn’t officially posted by the court until Thursday. This leaves Hitzemann until Dec. 2 to acquire the needed signatures and file his judicial candidate petition.

He obtained more than enough signatures, getting 3,000 over the weekend.

“I’d like to congratulate Judge Doyle on his impending retirement and thank him for the great service he’s provided to Monroe County both as judge and state’s attorney,” Hitzemann stated in a press release. “After consultation with family and friends, I’m excited to announce my candidacy for Monroe County Resident Circuit Judge. This was a difficult decision because I’ve thoroughly enjoyed serving Monroe County as state’s attorney over the past three years, and I’m proud of the work our office has accomplished.”  

Hitzemann said he works daily with great people and with their help, his office has made great strides to lessen the impact of drugs in Monroe County and provide support and justice for victims of violent crimes, including sexual assaults and domestic violence.

“Very few things I’ve experienced in life compare to sharing the moment of sentencing with a victim of a violent crime,” he said. “I’d like to thank all those individuals that have shared, and continue to share, their darkest moments with me and have trusted me to obtain the justice they deserve. It’s been an absolute honor to be your advocate, and I will continue to fight for you all until the end of my term.”  

Hitzemann, a Red Bud native, lives in Columbia with wife Beth and children Ella, 8, and Evan, 6.  

“One of my first goals as judge would be to start the lengthy process to certify a problem-solving drug court here in Monroe County,” Hitzemann said. “As state’s attorney, I’ve visited other drug courts in the state, including the drug court employed by Judge Dan Emge in Washington and Perry counties. I’ve witnessed how drug courts can be successful in ending the cycle of substance abuse and the related crimes that follow. To expedite the process, I recently attended the Illinois Association of Problem-Solving Courts conference, where I learned what’s necessary to implement a drug court, and obtained materials from other jurisdictions to aid in the certification process. I’m excited to see what kind of difference we can make here in Monroe County.”

On the heels of Hitzemann’s announcement, Monroe County Assistant State’s Attorney Ryan Martin, also a Republican, announced Friday he is running for state’s attorney.

Celeste Korando, a Democrat, announced last week her candidacy for Monroe County State’s Attorney. For more on that story, click here.

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