Standing on the front steps of a Collinsville Hospital his great-grandfather founded, Madison County Associate Judge Clarence Harrison formally announced his plan to seek election as Circuit Judge in 2006.
The vacancy opened when Judge Phillip Kardis retired Sept. 2.
"I am following in the tradition of my family of public service to the community," Harrison said to a crowd of around 20 people.
Harrison is a fourth generation of public servants. His father, Moses Harrison, served as a local lawyer and judge, and retired as an Illinois Supreme Court Justice.
Standing at his son's side, Moses Harrison beamed.
"It is a great honor to be a judge and engage in the service as a judge," said the retired justice.
Clarence Harrison has served as an associate judge for the past six years, hearing a wide variety of cases including family, civil, and criminal cases.
He also is the mental health judge, and on Fridays spends his time in Bond County hearing cases that range from small claims to criminal. He hears conflict cases in Bond County--cases that come from other circuits that are assigned to out-of-town judges by the Illinois Supreme Court.
Harrison is a life-long resident of Collinsville where he resides with his wife of 14 years and his two young daughters whom he calls, "the pride of my life."
He has been endorsed by the Collinsville Democratic Precinct Committee and will seek the endorsement of the entire Madison County Democratic Party.
Harrison said he plans to run a grassroots campaign.
"I don't see any other way to do it," Harrison said.
Harrison said that when he enters a courtroom he gives both parties a fair hearing based on the law and facts and not any person feelings he would bring into the courtroom.
"I am focused on justice for everyone, not just the cases the media deems important. Judges are neutral arbitors of the disputes."
Harrison said most media coverage of the courts make it look like "LA Law."
After receiving business and law degrees from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Harrison returned to Madison County to serve as an attorney for 10 years.
In addition to general law, Harrison argued appellate-level cases in Illinois, Missouri, and Nebraska prior to his appointment to the bench.
On the U.S. Supreme Court watch, Harrison believes Judge John Roberts, President Bush's nominee to be the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, will be confirmed "handsomely."