St. Clair County prosecutor Brendan Kelly eyed for Illinois State Police director post

By Brian Brueggemann | Jan 22, 2019


Brendan Kelly   Brendan Kelly for Congress

St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly is expected to be chosen by the state's new governor to head the Illinois State Police.

Also, state Rep. Jerry Costello II is expected to be picked to head the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat who in November defeated incumbent Republican Bruce Rauner, was sworn in a week ago and has been announcing appointments to leadership positions in his administration.

Kelly, a Democrat from Swansea, ran for Congress and lost a close race in November to incumbent U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro.

Kelly, 42, has served as St. Clair County State’s Attorney since 2010, when he was appointed to replace Robert Haida, who became a circuit judge. Prior to that, Kelly had served as an assistant state's attorney for Haida, and as circuit clerk St. Clair County.

Kelly has two years left in his current term as state's attorney, meaning a replacement will be chosen to finish the term. Under Illinois law, a replacement will be chosen by County Board Chairman Mark Kern, with approval by a majority vote of the full board. Under the law, the replacement has to be from the same political party as the person who is being replaced.

Kelly served in the U.S. Navy and is a graduate of Notre Dame University and Saint Louis University School of Law.

Kelly has served on -- or even created -- a number of criminal justice commissions and agencies and boards. The previous governor, Rauner, appointed Kelly to serve on the Illinois Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform Commission, which was asked to look at ways to reduce Illinois’ prison population 25 percent by 2025.

As state's attorney for St. Clair County, Kelly sued pharmaceutical companies for what he described as their role in an epidemic of opioid abuse.

Kelly would succeed Leo P. Schmitz, who was appointed ISP directed by Rauner in February 2015.

Costello, a Democrat from Smithton, is expected to be chosen to head the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Costello, an avid outdoorsman, would replace IDNR director Wayne Rosenthal, who was Rauner's appointee.

Costello, a son of former Congressman Jerry Costello, was first appointed to the state House in 2011, to fill a vacancy. He was re-elected in 2012, 2014, 2016 and in November.

His move to DNR would mean Democratic Party leaders in his district would choose someone to serve the remainder of his two-year term in the House. Costello's 116th House District covers all or parts of St. Clair, Monroe, Randolph and Perry counties.

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Organizations in this Story

Illinois Department of Natural Resources Illinois State Police Saint Louis University School of Law

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