Top Will County Democrats Rally For Sheriff Candidate Kelley
Another candidate announced he will run for Will County sheriff, and this one drew the support of the county's elected Democrats.
Will County's elected Democrats and other local politicians from the party rallied at Lockport's Public Landing Thursday evening to support sheriff candidate Mike Kelley.
"He's been practically a lifelong friend of mine and I think he's the right person for the job," said Will County Coroner Patrick O'Neil, who is working as Kelley's campaign chairman.
Kelley, a sergeant and 25-year veteran of the sheriff's department, is no stranger to politics. He served a term as a Lockport alderman before winning a seat as a Lockport Township trustee.
"He already has shown a commitment to help the citizens of Lockport Township," said O'Neil, adding that Kelley is ready to go to the "next level."
Kelley, 46, joins an increasingly crowded field to replace outgoing Sheriff Paul Kaupas, who said he is not seeking re-election. Kaupas' cousin, sheriff's department Deputy Chief Ken Kaupas, has said he will run as a Republican. So has retired sheriff's Chief Deputy Nick Ficarello.
Along with Kelley, the Democrats have retired sheriff's Lt. Ed Bradley reportedly intending to run.
On the evening of his announcement, Kelley said he has worked in every capacity of the sheriff's department.
"You name it, I've worked it," said the Lockport native and father of three sons.
Recently, he said, the sheriff's department has become stagnant.
"Ive seen the department, the last couple of years, stand still," he said. "We haven't progressed in any way."
One issue Kelley said he will tackle is putting more deputies on the streets.
"Money's always an issue right now," he said. "You can cut jobs, and you can cut where you can cut, but when you're jeopardizing the safety of the citizens of Will County, that's where you have to draw the line."
Kelley also wants to combat Will County's heroin problem. He said the drug comes to Will from Cook County and he wants to work with the sheriff there to cut off the supply.
Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow also voiced his support for Kelley.
"Paul Kaupas and I are friends. Paul's not running and I've known Mike for 25 years, maybe 30," Glasgow said of Kelley, who at one time worked as an investigator in the state's attorney's office.
"He's got the character and the experience to be sheriff of Will County," Glasgow said.