Don Weber

The Statewide Medical Alliance for the Survival of Healthcare (SMASH) announced its endorsement of Judges Don Weber and James Hackett to serve six year terms on the Third Circuit in Madison County.

"The health care system and doctors are still in jeopardy, despite the recent modest reforms," founder Morris Kugler, M.D. said in a press release.

Kugler founded SMASH, a political action committee, in 2000 to promote the interests of physicians and their patients. The group began as a grass roots effort by southern Illinois physicians to counter medical malpractice tort abuse.

The group, which has since gained membership statewide, was instrumental in the election of Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier

Weber and Hackett were presented official SMASH gear and the endorsements at a recent meeting attended by more than 60 doctors and heath care workers.

"The election of Justice Karmeier and the medical malpractice reforms enacted by the Legislature last year were only the first steps in the process that will level the judicial playing field," Robert Hamilton, M.D. of Godfrey said about the endorsement.

"These reforms will not help us much unless we follow up by electing circuit judges who are committed to fairness and who can provide much needed balance on the circuit bench," he added.

Kugler said that Weber's qualifications and integrity were the main reason SMASH doctors decided to support him.

"Don Weber's reputation for competence, fairness and integrity are well known," Kugler said.

"He received the highest possible recommendation by a bipartisan committee after extensive interviews and selection by Justice Karmeier."

"And, having served as an assistant prosecutor for 20 years, his integrity is unquestioned."

Kugler said that Hackett has a reputation as an intelligent, fair and thoughtful judge during his 11 years on the bench.

"He has presided over some of the toughest and most complicated cases in Southern Illinois and has demonstrated his commitment to fairness and balance as a judge over those 11 years," Kugler said.

Weber is running against personal injury attorney David Hylla, the president of the Madison County Bar Association.

Hackett is running against fellow Associate Judge Barbara Crowder.

SMASH also has endorsed Steve McGlynn to serve a full term on the Fifth District Appellate Court.

The group also has endorsed the three judges running for retention in Madison and Bond Counties.

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