Long before she began to plot her run and espouse her vision for the Rock Island County state’s attorney office, Kathleen Bailey was of the mind that the people of the city easily knew what kind of government she represents.
“I think I’ve demonstrated my commitment to Rock Island County,” Bailey told the Rock Island Today. “When I worked in the state’s attorney’s office, I was instrumental in getting the kids advocate program started here in Rock Island. This isn’t a rung on the ladder for me. This would be the focus of my effort.”
The only Republican expected to officially declare for the race, she is poised to take on Democrat Dora Villarreal, who was appointed to the post by county board members back in June after longtime elected State’s Attorney John McGehee was sworn in as a Rock Island County judge.
Before McGehee’s exit was even official, top GOP officials were recruiting Bailey to serve as his heir apparent.
“It started last September when I was approached to run,” she said. "People expressed some concerns about the office, then I checked with law officers and they too had some concerns.’
That was enough to propel Bailey forward, with a ready-made vision in hand.
“I’d like to see an expedited process setting case management standards,” she said. “There’s no reason for a misdemeanor case to take 12 months and most felonies should be able to be resolved within 18 months. I would like to establish an online portal for the public to comment anonymously on their experiences with the office, whether they’ve been a witness, victim, compliant or juror. I would like to establish a veteran’s court. We have a mental health court and drug court. I don’t know why we don’t have a veteran’s court to address the special needs that veterans have.”
Bailey said her message is growing in popularity as more and more voters sense her authenticity.
“No one has ever heard me say I want to be a judge because I haven’t said that,” she said. “This would be the focus of my effort. I’ve gotten positive feedback. So far I’m the only candidate that’s been endorsed by one of the FOPs (Fraternal Order of Police). The Rock Island FOP has endorsed me.”