Bill Berry, Democratic candidate for Appellate Court Judge made a swing through Shelbyville to talk about his candidacy.

Berry had been in Springfield for a press conference with State Representative Mike Boland. Boland and Berry had called the press conference to urge support for judicial election reform by passing House Bill 4610.

Modeled after a successful North Carolina law, House Bill 4610 creates a voluntary system of public financing for Appellate and Supreme Court races in Illinois. The legislation also establishes limits on campaign contributions for judicial candidates at the Appellate and Supreme Court levels.

“The citizens of Illinois should not have to worry about the influence of big money in our judicial elections,” said Boland. “I will continue to fight for the passage of judicial reform.”

Berry talked about the Supreme Court race in 2004, for the Southern Illinois’ 5th Judicial District. That race garnered national attention when both candidates for that seat spent millions of dollars in a harsh campaign.

“After the 2004 Supreme Court race in Southern Illinois, it’s clear that the way we fund Appellate and Supreme Court elections needs to be improved,” Berry said. “This bill will help do that by ensuring that justice in Illinois is not for sale.”

Berry has practiced law in Southern Illinois for more than thirty-two years, representing a broad range of clients. As a partner in a firm with offices in Collinsville and Belleville, it is impossible to classify Bill’s practice in a single category. He has represented men and women in the civil courts, family courts, and before the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. In his extensive practice, he also represents businesses both privately and publicly owned.

Berry is also a frequent lecturer on legal issues affecting families coping with Alzheimer’s and the continuing legal education programs of the State of Illinois. He also conducts seminars for the National Business Institute where he instructs other attorneys on general practice and probate law.

“My experience in litigation has been broad and I am distinguishable from many of the other candidates now and prior, in that I have been both defense and plaintiff,” continued Berry.

Berry, who is 57, was raised in Belleville, IL. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Millikin University in Decatur and his law degree from Washington University in St. Louis.

Berry and his wife, Nancy settled in Collinsville in 1975, where they raised their now grown sons, Christopher and Kevin. Continuing the family tradition of making a difference in other peoples lives, Christopher is a licensed social worker and Kevin in his third year of medical school.

Both Berry and his wife participate actively in their church and community. For almost ten years, Berry served as a Scout master for Troop 48, in Collinsville. As his children grew up in the community, he assisted coaching baseball and soccer.

“I have actively practiced in an area where the practice has been very active, with a lot of litigation, not only in Madison and Saint Clair Counties but also Randolph, and Sangamon counties,” said Berry. “That experience will serve me very well.”

Berry said he has adopted a philosophy for the campaign that encompass three elements that he believes voters are looking for.

“Experience that I have elaborated on, independence and integrity,” said Berry.

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