Madison - St. Clair Record

Monday, December 16, 2019

QA with Tom Haine: Challenger for State's Attorney position reveals why he believes voters should back him

Campaigns & Elections

By John Breslin | Nov 20, 2019

Tom Haine

Tom Haine has announced he will run for the office of Madison County State's Attorney as a Republican against incumbent Tom Gibbons.

A lawyer born and raised in Alton, Haine, the son of former state's attorney and long time state Sen. William Haine, graduated from Princeton University and earned his law degree at Washington University.

Haine served in the Army Judge Advocate General's (JAG) Corps, and was a member of the 10th Mountain Division. After activie duty, he moved back to Alton with his wife, Eva, and children.

He served as a law clerk for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit before opening his private practice in Edwardsville

What motivated you to decide to run for the position, and what might you bring to the role that you believe may be lacking now?

I am excited about the future of Madison County. I was born and raised in Alton, went to St. Mary's grade school, and Marquette High School. I saw and learned a lot watching my dad act with integrity and leadership as State's Attorney for so many of these years.

After law school, I served as an Army JAG prosecutor for several years, which was an incredible experience. When I left active duty my wife and I moved our growing family (we have three young boys with another baby due in January) back home to where I had such a wonderful childhood.

I decided that with my experience as a military prosecutor, and the leadership I learned in the Army, I could do my part to promote the active, energetic, tough, justice system that I saw my dad lead when he was State's Attorney. I believe we need a new generation of conservative leaders in Madison County, who can approach old problems with new ideas. That's why I'm running.

What will be the key issues you will be raising during the campaign, and what will be the priorities if elected?

I look forward to bringing new energy and an outside perspective to the office. I learned in the Army that new positive leadership from outside a team revitalizes institutions with a new vision, new ideas, and a new level of energy given to old issues and problems.

The last time someone was elected Madison County State's Attorney from outside the office was my dad, in 1988. I will do a top-down review of all policies and procedures at the State's Attorneys office. We need to make sure the office is fully modernized, professional, and spending every dollar wisely, where it can most impact the safety of our communities and justice for victims of crimes.

Also, I have some questions about our plea bargaining process. I will compare our sentencing and guilty pleas to other jurisdictions, to make sure it is appropriately tough. I will make sure we are never reluctant to go to trial when necessary. And I will make absolutely sure we close the door on the worst offenders, and put them in jail for a very long time.

We need to move these cases with a sense of urgency, while always making sure we give cases adequate preparation to win at trial. Every day a defendant sits in our Madison County jail while a case works its way through the system it costs Madison County taxpayers money and fails to help victims.

Finally, I will do better outreach with our Veterans - there are many thousands in Madison County - because all too often the opioid crisis and the mental health crisis hits them first, and hardest, which has an impact on safety and crime in our communities. The first time our Veterans hear from the State's Attorney office should not be when they face possible criminal prosecution.  

You are running as a Republican. Do you believe you will be able to attract traditional Democrats? Will your father's reputation and history play any role in your campaign, particularly related to potentially attracting Democrats?

My dad is my hero. He and I agree on practically everything. But today, with the current party alignment, my political principles have a better home in the Republican party. I have already heard from many Democrats who are supporting me, and I am very very grateful. But Democrat or Republican, our campaign will be about non-partisan issues. Prosecution is non-partisan. Enforcing the law is non-partisan. Leadership, energy, and ability are non-partisan. I want to be the best State's Attorney possible, and for that, I need look no further than my dad.

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