Friday, December 25, 2009

Wishing a very blessed Christmas to all...

May the beauty and spirit of the holiday season bring you happiness and peace.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sammy our Sign Guy!

Meet Sam Joseph of Sam Joseph Specialties. He is the person responsible for all the bright blue "Vespa for Judge" signs popping up all over. If you have any complaints, call him.

Kidding aside, we very much appreciated Sam's help with the selection of the campaign signs. Not being veteran politicians, his advice to us was invaluable. Sam recommended the best sign material, colors and sizes for a winter campaign. Sam also offered to store the sign inventory and delivers as needed. He has really gone above and beyond the call of duty and is an invaluable member of our team!

A note from John:

I've known Sam Joseph for over 30 years. He is as loyal and knowledgeable a person as they come. The Joseph name is respected around Peoria, and they can be counted on to do their very best, every time. Sam has continued the family tradition with the superior service he has provided my campaign for judge.

In addition to signs, Sams sells a full complement of campaign accessories including buttons, stickers, specialty items, spirit wear and more.

Don't be tempted by cheap on-line products. With Sam Joseph you will get high quality campaign products and the expertise of an individual who has advised hundreds of successful campaigns.

Monday, December 14, 2009

John Vespa on Greg and Dan

1470 WMBD's Greg and Dan invited John to their morning talk show on December 8. You can listen to their podcast here.

John would like to thank Jessica the show's producer, WMBD, and of course Greg and Dan for being "great interviewers".

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Campaign gets "Adventurous"

Thanks to Tazewell County Board Member and talented writer John Ackerman, the "Vespa for Judge" campaign has been snagging some state-wide attention.

An avid swimmer and outdoor enthusiast, Board Member Ackerman writes a monthly political column for the popular Illinois Magazine Adventure Sports Outdoors

John Ackerman met Candidate Vespa at a Morton candidate forum, and therein lied the content for Ackerman's December political column "Judging Clarity".

An excerpt:

What has changed over the past decade is our understanding and relationship with “right and wrong” and the ever growing “gray area” we allow more and more decisions to fall into. Too many of us have become accustomed to allowing outside elements, unrelated prior incidents and activities to become part of the decision of what is right and wrong. We have become over-obsessed with understanding the criminal rather than judging the crime.

Vespa talked about the growing “gray space” and the blurring of the lines of right and wrong. He talked about how if elected he would rule from the bench based on following the law strictly, with a clear understanding and belief in right and wrong and paying the consequences for ones actions and decisions.
This got my attention. While I have reservations on the abilities of legislative bodies to govern

The article then got picked up by the statewide conservative blog, The Illinois Review.

"Adventure Sports Outdoors" ( is Free and is available throughout Illinois and in some parts of Iowa and Missouri. It's publishers, Harry and Cathy Canterbury, appear regularly on PBS and other public television stations throughout the state.

You can pick up your free copy at Midwestern Firearms in East Peoria or Gander Mountain in Peoria. You can also arrange via their website for a subscription by mail.

Our thanks to John Ackerman, The ASO Magazine and The Illinois Review for carrying John Vespa's campaign message.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Holiday Festivals, Santa Parades, and Giving Thanks...

We continue to explore and enjoy the plentiful nooks and crannies of the Tenth Judicial Circuit. Holiday celebrations and Santa parades have taken us throughout all five counties. Campaigning, although tiring, offers many opportunities to meet amazing people.

In these days of plenty, many children (and adults) never grasp the true meaning of Thanksgiving. Of course, we go through the motions. "Thank you for our food, our family, our home and our dog, Fluffy", we say. However, few of us realize what it is like to truly be hungry or cold.

For these reasons, it was fitting and appropriate that over the Thanksgiving holiday we had a wonderful opportunity to visit our most cherished campaign supporter in Putnam County, Alma Toedter. Alma has quite a story to tell and we asked her to share it with our children. She also gave us permission to share some of it here.

Alma was born in Renno, Italy, in 1938. During World War II, her parents were in a work camp and she was cared for by relatives. They lived in a barn that had been bombed and was only half standing. She slept on the ground between 2 bales of straw for warmth. Alma told our children that she went to bed hungry and woke up hungry. To survive, they hunted for chestnuts and dandelion roots. Alma showed our kids scars on her arms and legs - scars that resulted from gunshot wounds she suffered as a little girl as she foraged for food. Alma remembers walking for miles on Christmas Day to her Aunt's house, in the winter, with no shoes and only a light jacket. It was worth it, says Alma, because the reward would be a little Christmas gift bag from her Aunt. In it, she would find an apple, some nuts, and a small piece of chocolate that she would cherish for weeks.

Eventually her parents returned home, and through the grace of God they were able to emigrate to the United States and build a better life. Now happily retired from a successful small business, Alma smiles as she tells her story. There is not a hint of bitterness, nor a morsel of regret. She speaks with grace and confidence, most likely born from the understanding that there are few obstacles life could throw her way that she could not overcome. The challenges she faced as a little girl molded her into the wonderful and wise human being she is today.

As a parent, if you look around, you will most likely be acquainted with a person like Alma. If you get the chance, ask that person to talk to your children. It will be an enlightening experience for everybody and will help us all understand the true meaning of "Giving thanks".

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Elks Club

posted by John P. Vespa

Last week I had the pleasure of joining a few of my friends at The Elks Club. We prepared a Thanksgiving feast for the public. In that the kind members of the Club were unaware of my cooking prowess, they allowed me to assist in meal preparation. I have not been notified of any fatalities.

Barbara, Bernice, and many, many others were gracious enough to allow me to help them reach out to those less fortunate. The Elks Club makes a habit of public service and I was glad to be a small part of it. I'll be back.

Please join us for a candidate Meet and Greet...

On Friday, December 4, "Citizens for John Vespa" will host a Meet and Greet at the private home of Christine Schauble. Reservations are required by December 3, 2009.

This will be a light-hearted, festive event and a great opportunity to relax, meet with John and greet old and new friends.

For details please see the flyer below!


Monday, November 23, 2009

Photo of the Week!

Now this is commitment! Campaign supporter and nut sister of mine Karyn Smydra attempts to spread the word to the citizens of Venice, Italy that John Vespa is THE CHOICE for Judge of the Tenth Judicial Circuit!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Honoring our Men and Women Who Serve...

Friday wrapped up a long and meaningful week centered appropriately around honoring our Veterans.

Our families have been touched by military service in many ways. My parents met while officers in the Air Force. My sisters family is a Marine family and they are currently stationed in The Ukraine. John's Dad (pictured at right) served proudly in the Marines during WWII. Both of John's brothers, Judge Joe Vespa (whose judicial seat John is now seeking and pictured below) and his brother Jim, now at rest, served in the Vietnam war.

For these reasons and more, John has always payed close attention to issues affecting Veterans and holds their needs very close to his heart.

Here are John's comments in that regard:

Shortly after the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, I, along with several other attorneys formed the Peoria County Bar Association's Legal Assistance To Military People (LAMP) program. This program was developed to provide free legal services for active duty military personnel and their families. In my work as the Director of the LAMP program, I had the opportunity to help many veterans, active duty military, and their families. I have helped many service men and women throughout my career, however, being the Director of the LAMP program afforded me a greater opportunity to reach many more families.

When someone is stationed away from home, the family they leave behind can be vulnerable to creditors, landlords, and ex-spouses, among others. The family suffers from a significantly reduced income and the loss of one if its leaders, as a result of the soldier going away to protect his or her country. This is, obviously, terribly unfair. So, our legislature enacted laws to protect these soldiers and their families.

In that lawyers are especially equipped to handle these matters, they often assist the soldier and the family. Lawyers can protect them from eviction, debt collectors, vengeful ex-spouses, and many other unpleasant events. It has been my distinct pleasure to step up and protect our military on multiple occasions. They are protecting us, in much more serious terms, and I always felt it was the least I could do to assist them, however slightly.

I have prevented foreclosures and other forms of debt collection. I have stopped divorce proceedings and post-divorce proceedings. For instance, there are times when an ex-spouse will attempt to seize this opportunity to gain custody of children. I can and have stopped this. I know how to make the judicial system wait until the soldier comes home and can defend the action him or herself. Our judges are extremely cooperative when it comes to protecting our military. The judge, however, needs to be given the vehicle in which to do this and I stand ready, willing, and able to provide the solution. The law provides a way to protect our soldiers and I take full advantage of that. It is indeed my honor to serve our armed forces in this way.

John and I both feel it is important to pass along our reverence and respect for the military to our children. We educate them at every opportunity about the history of our country and of the thousands of lives lost which has provided us the privileged life as Americans we enjoy today. The Veteran's Day Parade in downtown Peoria is always an exhilarating experience and the ceremonies at the World War II Memorial following offer many teachable moments.

As Judge of the Tenth Judicial Circuit, John will fully enforce the laws that are in place to protect the needs of our Armed Service Men and Women. He will not need any "on the job training" as he is fully fluent in both civil and criminal law and the special needs of the military.

For more photos of our participation in Veteran's Day events throughout the Circuit, please see our Facebook pages here and here.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

And they're OFF!

Last Monday as of approximately 10:30a.m. John completed the petition stage of the campaign as he filed his petition and Statement of Candidacy in Springfield, IL. He was in line well before the 8:00 AM filing deadline to be included in the ballot position lottery. That lottery will determine the order of placement of his name on the ballot.

John's petition included 107 pages of 1,570 qualified signatures. Six additional petition pages trickled in after the deadline, but we are fine on numbers, as he well exceeded the statuatory requirement of 500. Since John is running a Circuit race which includes the five counties of Peoria, Tazewell, Marshall, Stark and Putnam, he felt it was important to secure a range of voter signatures that represented all five counties. Over the past 90 days, he has visited constituents and secured signatures from the following cities and townships:

Laura, Lacon, Hopewell, Henry, Toulon, Wyoming, Princeville, Brimfield, Peoria Heights, Creve Couer, Lafayette, Peoria, Baronville, Bradford, Chillicothe, Rome, Washington, Edwards, Dunlap, Pekin, Hanna City, Mapleton, Trivoli, Glasford, Tremont, West Peoria, Varna, East Peoria, Bartonville, Morton, Farmington, Edelstein, Delavan, Green Valley, Groveland, Mackinaw, Granville and Spring Valley.

It has been our pleasure visiting and getting to know the families throughout the Tenth Judicial Circuit. Thank you to the precinct committeemen and everyone who passed the petitions on John's behalf as well as all who signed it.

No matter how big or small, how wealthy or poor, all communities desire an honest, fair, and competant judiciary. Electing John as your Circuit Judge will achieve that goal. If you would like to meet John or have him speak at your club or organization please call the campaign office at 309-251-VOTE (8683) or email us at

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hall of Fame Inductions

Posted by John P. Vespa

It is always great to go back to Peoria High. Last Saturday, we inducted several individual athletes and teams into our Athletic Hall Of Fame, with a ceremony in the foyer. Being on the Board Of Directors' Athletic Hall Of Fame Committee, I played a direct role in selecting and recognizing these athletes' achievements. I was thrilled to have this opportunity. I remember the excitement I experienced when my class of 1974/75 football team was enshrined in Peoria High's Athletic Hall Of Fame back in 2004.

After the ceremony, I was able to meet with several old friends. It's impossible to name them all, but among them were Cortez Blake, Tommy Sturdivant, John Fetcho, Tim Richards, Mr. Genge, Mr. LaCroix, Jerry Davidson, Dave Ayoub, Kirk Wessler, Mr. Robertson, Bill Robertson, Alicia Butler, Coach Salzer, and Tom Hoskins.

In this photo from L to R - Bill Robertson, Corky Robertson,
John Vespa, Jim Vespa

It was especially thrilling to have my son there with me. Jim is 8 years old and was able to meet some of Dad's old football and high school buddies. He had also never been inside Central. So, he received a tour of the foyer, which included the trophy case and various plaques dedicated to the Athletic Hall Of Fame recipients.

I enjoy seeing kids involved in sports. It helps them learn teamwork, and that some things can only be accomplished through cooperation with others. I also want them to learn the thrill of victory and how to accept defeat. When they compare the difference in outcomes, it will help motivate them to make the right decisions.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Campaign Kick-off wrap up and more....

Last Wednesday evenings campaign kick-off was a resounding success and exceeded our wildest expectations! Thank you to all those who helped with the planning and preparation, in particular Artist and neighbor Dawn Kapp who designed the room decor and centerpieces, Paul Sullivan who made the hall arrangements and who, with John's being his 4th judicial campaign, was an endless source of knowledge, advice and inspiration. We also appreciate the contributions of Brendan Kennard, who trained us in some technology used for the event. It takes a big person to admit they need help from a twelve year old! Brendan re-invigorates our confidence in the future of our great country.

Also a shout out to our friends at, who hooked us up with the remarkable entertainer Lamar Harris. Lamar blew everyone away with his talent. I'll never forget my brother, Steve, telling Lamar "It's amazing how you can memorize every one's name," to which Lamar replied "Why, Thank you, Steve". He was amazing!

Last but by no means least a very heartfelt Thank you to our event sponsors. Your generosity made the event possible and your support is truly humbling. It was a enchanted evening made possible by you.

Diane's brother, Joe Gizzi, is the lucky winner of the door prize

Of course, the highlight of the evening was the opportunity for John to address the gathering of our friends and family. We feel he shares a powerful message of commitment and love for a community that he was born and raised in. A community where he chooses to live his life and raise a family- a feat that is no longer quite so simple. John shares a message of commitment to hard work, values and a healthy dose of old fashioned common sense.

He spoke of his desire for a return to the values our country was founded upon. Values at one time held dearly, but that have become lost in a society that is slowly blurring the lines between right and wrong. Values that have always been an integral part of his life, originating even earlier than his Grandparents arrival in Toluca, IL, where his grandfather worked in the coal mines. John expressed his concern about our undeniable descent into an "excuses" society that is slowly eroding the very fabric of human existence.

John places a high value on being a loving nurturing parent, a responsible homeowner, (other than getting behind on the lawn mowing a bit this summer), helping the sick, disabled, the elderly and those down on their luck, the every-day hero who is committed to his community and his calling. Call him old-fashioned, but John still holds those principles dear, and rejects the trend towards an expanding gray area of acceptable behaviors.

As Judge, John will strictly interpret the law and offer every participant a thorough and respectful hearing of their case. He will rule with good judgement, integrity and common sense. He will not legislate from the bench.

John's message had a resoundingly positive reception from the crowd. His childhood friends Chuck, Tim, Dutch and Al all chuckled as he spoke. John's strict adherence to rules is legendary. Having grown up with him, they nodded their heads in acknowledgement as John in a very self deprecating way referenced his rigid code of behavior throughout his adult life. "I act the way my parents taught me to act", he said. A friend or two may have found it troublesome at times, but as we age, the wisdom of such principles becomes increasingly evident. His is a philosophy that, possibly due to the current state of affairs, is slowly returning to society, but for John has never left.

A strong dedication towards one's family, one's country, the constitution, and a responsibility to society to become the very best person we could be is what John Vespa is all about.

Thank you once again to all of our dedicated volunteers, all those who celebrated with us and supported the official kick-off of John's campaign for judge. Thank you to all who have circulated petitions on his behalf. There is still much work to be done, but we are well on our way, and we could not be more pleased with the private and public support we have encountered along the way.

If you would like to volunteer to help the Vespa for Judge campaign, please call Diane at 309-645-8608 or fill out the on-line volunteer form on the campaign website. Your participation can be as simple as walking your street or introducing John to your group or club. We value even the smallest gesture.

Today by 8:30 AM, John will have completed the petition stage of this race. More to come on that later.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

We gear up for fabulous Campaign Kick-off event!


Lamar Harris was the lead act for the Westward HO! Casino in Las Vegas for 13 years! He is a One Man Band Musical Review and does dead-on impersonations of the famous songs of Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Jimmy Buffett and many, many more. You will be enchanted as he channels the various artists through the use of hats.

An absolute wonderful time is guaranteed as you relax, meet the candidate, and enjoy a fabulous evening of interactive entertainment and dining with friends in support of the John Vespa for Judge Campaign!

Tickets are only $30 and include a full buffet of heavy hors devours, drinks, entertainment and dancing, plus a short program by the candidate at 6:30.

Sponsorships are available in the amounts of $100, $250, and $500 and will include special recognitions plus 2 event admissions!

The event is from 5:00 to 8:00 P.M. next Wednesday, October 14 at the Knights of Columbus Hall at 7403 N Radnor Road, Peoria, IL.

Please call me ASAP for tickets at 645-8608, or contact us through the website. We so look forward to seeing many of you as we enjoy the fellowship and give John a rousing show of support as he continues his journey for election to the Tenth Judicial Circuit.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Operation Santa

Operation Santa is a program of citizen support for America's military. This year their goal is to ship 35,000 stockings filled with the comforts of home to deployed troops around the globe.

The always-busy Peoria County Republican Women sponsored a workday last Thursday in which we cut, sewed, and pressed stockings of all colors and patterns. Many of the ladies worked all day. Here you can see they were quite proud of their work!

John's campaign was honored to participate in this worthwhile project and made a contribution to the organization's shipping fund. You can too. Information to mail in your donation can be found at the bottom of this post!

Citizen, Husband, Father...

John wears many hats, and one hat that I find absolutely amazing is that of John as "Dad". Our children are our world, and God blessed them with the most awesome father a Mom could ever want for her kids! He is the right mixture of discipline and love, gentleness and strength. Lord knows we aren't perfect but every day we cross our fingers and pray that we are making this world a better place for them.

I snapped this photo yesterday and couldn't resist posting it here!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

No one is more cherished in this world than someone who lightens the burden of another - author unknown

A five County campaign cannot be run on adrenaline alone, although we give it a good try. The reality is that John's message could not be heard if it wasn't for the selfless efforts of campaign volunteers. This post is an expression of appreciation for everyone who has reached out to John and offered their help in large and small ways.

To all of our friends and neighbors who have touched the campaign, supporters and endorsers, to those who have made financial contributions, the precinct committeemen and the GOP Central Committee members, we thank you!

Of course, there is much more work to be done. If you or someone you know can help in even a small way, please contact us at 309-251-VOTE (8683), or visit the Volunteer page on the campaign website.

Here are our most pressing needs...

1. Help us identify sign locations
2. Host a coffee or "meet and greet" in your home
3. Introduce John to your club or organization.
4. Walk your neighborhood with campaign literature.
5. Make a financial contribution

I have found that it is great to involve children and teach them the Democratic process first hand. They will learn that they do have a say in their future! It is crucial that a civilized society have a highly qualified judiciary. Electing John Vespa as Tenth Circuit Judge will deliver just that.

Please get involved if you are so moved. You may find a new friend, and you are guaranteed to share a giggle.

We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future. ~Franklin Delano Roosevelt

A shout out from the Stark County news...

John had an opportunity to meet voters in Stark County last Sunday. A review of the event headlined by Congressman Aaron Schock appears here.

There was a super turn-out, but all credit goes to the Congressman! ;)

tip: Keep scrolling, John is way at the bottom!

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Peoria County Bar Association's Diversity Luncheon

posted by John P. Vespa

I had the pleasure of attending the Peoria County Bar Association's Diversity Luncheon today. The speaker was wonderful and her message rang true. Cook County States Attorney Anita Alvarez described how she rose from an impoverished background to running the second-biggest States Attorney's office in the United States. It was a "rags to riches" tale - truly inspirational.

She is living proof of what a great country we live in. Everyone has a chance. Put in the necessary work and good things will happen. Don't listen to your critics - those who tell you why you can not succeed. You CAN succeed... just ask Anita Alvarez.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The "It's Tuesday it must be Belgium" Syndrome

When a campaign is in full swing, a candidate and his family may find themselves doing in a single weekend what would ordinarily take place in a month. Last weekend was just that as we scurried to and from a variety of Fall events that took place throughout the Tenth Judicial Circuit. Below I have posted some of our favorite images of the past week.

We kicked the weekend off at "Dunlap Days" where
Village Trustee Colleen Slane secured numerous signatures
on John's behalf with her brown eyes and dance steps that
would put Beyonce to shame!

My Daddy is the awesomest Daddy ever!

The popular band "Jamsammich"
packed the tent into the wee hours.
Above singer and pal Brian Carroll belts one out!

We were up and 'at em bright and early for a 9:00 line up at the Pekin Marigold parade the following morning- by far the biggest parade to date.

We marched in conjunction with the
Tazewell GOP and had a blast.
The kids caught a break
this time and road the GOP trolley!

Two of our most dedicated parade walkers
- good friends Heidi and Bob Shaw.

The GOP booth at the Marigold Festival after the parade was a beehive! People waited patiently in line to sign the GOP petitions!

Our most heartfelt thanks goes out to the Tazewell County GOP, particularly Lowell Schroeder, for his hard work and dedication to the success of the GOP candidates!

Stay tuned for a full slate of weekend events, beginning with the Morton Pumpkin festival parade tomorrow. If you or someone you know would like to volunteer to help the John Vespa for Judge campaign, please contact us through the "Volunteer" page on the official campaign website.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

So much to say, so little time...

Ugh! I'm running a little behind on the blog. Rest assured John could not be busier. Monday night we attended a re-election event for State Representative David Leitch. Read up on a re-cap of that event here!

Rep. David Leitch has endorsed John's candidacy. What an honor to have the confidence of such an esteemed and accomplished legislator.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Recognizing our working men and women

Labor Day in America is a day that we celebrate the American dream through commitment and hard work. There is no better country and no better system of government than the free market capitalism that, as Americans, we enjoy. We were proud to participate in the Marshall County (Toluca) and Peoria Labor Day Parades. The weather was beautiful and the crowds really came out!

Since both parades started at the same time, the campaign split up in to two groups. The need for an additional vehicle was resolved compliments of Green Chevrolet, who provided us with this awesome Hummer. The kids loved it because they could ride in the back of it! A huge Thank You to our friends at Green Chevrolet as well as friend and campaign supporter Dave who made the arrangements and drove it without wrecking it.

Half of our group marched in Peoria and John joined our friends in Toluca.

Here John is shown with friend
and campaign supporter Alma Toedter

John enjoyed pal-ling with Bill Kenyon of
the popular Kenyon's restaurant in Lacon.

John greets his cousin Sophie Aggatucci,
of Aggatucci's fame. The Aggatucci's originated
in Toluca, as did the Vespa's.

John is thrilled to run into one of his baseball
players, future great Peyton Perez

This is just cute!

John greets a friend of mine!

After the afternoon's activities, we united forces and continued the celebration on the Peoria Riverfront. Many of the local unions were represented in the parade. Among them was a personal favorite - the Peoria Federation of Teachers. John's sister, Peg, taught children in the Peoria District 150 school system for over 25 years. And because of our grade schoolsers, we have come to recognize and appreciate the awesome responsibility teachers have in educating a classroom full of children with a wide spectrum of educational needs.

Labor Day for John often invokes the memories of his parents and grandparents, now deceased.

John's grandparents settled in Toluca after immigrating from Italy, and his grandfather went to work in the coal mines. Mario, John's Dad, was a welder at Cat for over 40 years and worked long hours (including weekends loading trucks at the Journal Star) so their Mom, Aleene, could be a homemaker.

Mario Vespa works on a Cat engine
in building KK (or LL) in East Peoria
(This picture will appear in the new edition of "Peoria Memories")

John and his 3 siblings, Peg, Joe, and Jim, grew up in a small house on Columbia Terrace (711 West Columbia Terrace) in the heart of Peoria.

John worked his way through college and law school, and upon admittance to the Bar Association, paid off student loans by hanging out a shingle and opening a private law practice. He has truly achieved the American dream by spirit and hard work - of which, as hard as they try, no one can find a substitute for!

John has spent the majority of his time in the courtroom and has conducted over 100 jury trials. By electing John to serve as your Circuit Judge you will be electing a man who was born and raised in Peoria County. A man that grew up in a working class family - a man of few "excuses". A man who graduated from a school that he loves - Peoria Central High School - and continues to serve on their Alumni Association Board of Directors.

John is a man who has seen the administration of the law through multiple lenses - as a police officer fighting crime on the streets and as an attorney in the courtroom. We are thankful for the system of justice that we have. It may not always be perfect but it is the greatest system in the world. A highly qualified judiciary is what separates us from a heathen society.

John is unmatched by his judicial opponents in courtroom experience. His broad background in both criminal and civil law will make him fully adept at handling a courtroom docket immediately. His common sense and clear understanding of the law will result in a well-reasoned application of the law to the facts of the cases that appear before him.

John is asking for your vote on February 2, 2010!

photos by Paul Wilkinson

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

West MacQueen Street Band and the Simkins factor

A man that John admires very much is Rick Simkins. Rick and John grew up near each other in the heart of Peoria - John on Columbia Terrace, and Rick on West MacQueen Street. They did not come from a background of privilege, but they were blessed with devoted parents who taught them values and how to live life with honor and integrity. The two men have been friends since grade school and recently shared a seat on the Heartland DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) Executive Board. John and Rick share a common interest in the welfare of young people, and their respective job descriptions offer many opportunities for outreach.

Rick is a professional educator and is currently the principal at Germantown Hills Junior High school. If this sounds a little "business-as-usual" there is a twist. The fact is that Rick has an alter-ego. In addition to his role as principal, he is the lead singer and guitarist for the high energy and wildly popular band "West MacQueen Street". I'm not sure about anyone else, but I sure don't recall having a principal that was that cool! Imagine the thrill his school students must feel when they see their principal up on stage. What an inspiration he is to so many kids to live their dreams.

From the West MacQueen Street Band website:

Our band is named after the starting point of where the journey began, a street located in the middle of the city of Peoria, Illinois. Located on this street is a house that has been rocking with the sound of rock ‘n’ roll music since the early days of the Beatles. There, two great parents allowed their son to live a dream and form a rock band. Since then, musicians have passed through its doors for almost thirty years and their music continues to fill the streets today!

Rick has the energy of a 20 year old, and at least part of the band's appeal can be attributed to their high energy and inclusive performances. The band interacts with its fans throughout their performance and it it not unusual to see audience members up on stage singing, dancing and having a ball.

For all these reasons and more, John is proud to consider West MacQueen Street the official band of the Vespa for Judge campaign!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Labor Day Weekend kicks off!

The Fall festivals and parade season is upon us, and it offers countless opportunities for John to meet the electorate of the 10th Judicial Circuit.

As we travel throughout the counties, the scenery may change, but voter curiosity and concerns remain constant. John's calm and reasoned demeanor invites dialogue from people from all walks of life. One of his observations has been that people are most concerned about safety in their community.

One of our favorite weekend stops was the Fall Festival in Delavan, IL. Delavan is about 40 minutes south of Pekin, in the Southern portion of Tazewell County. This event offered numerous activities for the kids including rides, a talent show and a fabulous band. We spent nearly the entire afternoon there. We met most of the vendors and John enjoyed moving about the crowds, gathering signatures and talking with voters.

It may appear from the stories and pictures within this blog that campaigning is a lot of frivolty. On the contrary, campaigning is serious business. It is now more important than ever that we are fully knowlegeable about our candidates before we punch that card in the voting booth. To arrange for John to speak with your association or group, please contact the campaign through our contact page.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A day at the ballpark

This summer has offered the perfect ball park weather, and we have taken full advantage of it. Last week we checked out a Peoria Chiefs game during a political fundraiser at the Pepsi Pavilion, where we continued to gather support for the campaign and several pages of signatures on John's petition. The kids were thrilled by an impromptu visit from local legend Pete Vonachen, who pulled up alongside them in his golf cart. Jenniffer, our six year old, negotiated quite the deal and traded her soft pretzel for a Peoria chiefs baseball personally autographed by Pete! Then she negotiated even the return of the pretzel.

Hmmm... kind of reminds me of something but I can't quite my finger on it.

Our son had his own thrill just a few weeks prior, when the Chiefs invited his Coach Pitch baseball team onto the field to play with the team. All the kids walked away with baseballs autographed by the players. Below John stands with his team that he sponsored and coached. The kids reported the days events as "awesome"!

Citizens of Peoria are fortunate to have such a family-friendly sport and venue at their fingertips. The Peoria Chiefs really go the extra mile to reach out to the community and they continually inspire and amaze our kids.

Over hill, over dale, we will hit the dusty trail...

John has been busy getting to know some of the faces and places of the Tenth Judicial Circuit which includes includes Peoria, Tazewell, Marshall, Putnam and Stark Counties. It is a very large area and has been keeping him quite busy.

Below John greets voters at a Health care clinic. He has been reaching out to all voters but given this is the primary campaign season, he is particularly interested in connecting with Republican voters. Personally, I would like to see judicial elections be non-partisan (like the School Board elections) but I doubt we have the clout to change that (Lol!)

This stage of the campaign involves gathering enough signatures to get his name on the Republican ballot. The required number of signatures is 500, but to insure that they are all "qualified" signatures the goal is to triple that.

A qualified signature is one from 1. a registered voter 2. who resides in the circuit (Peoria, Tazewell, Marshall, Putnam and Stark counties) and that 3. has not and will not sign a petition for a Democrat candidate.

If you meet that criteria and have not yet signed John's petition and would like to do so, please call the Vespa for Judge campaign headquarters at 309-251-VOTE (8683) or e-mail us at We can also use help circulating petitions, particularly in counties other than Peoria.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Signs, Signs, Everywhere are signs...

Although we are several months away from sign placements, it is not too early to start identifying locations where we can place "Vespa for Judge" yard signs. If you would be willing to put a sign in your yard please e-mail the campaign at with your name, address, and phone number. One morning several months from now a sign will magically appear in your yard. Don't forget to also ask your neighbors and friends!

Signs will also be available for pick up at the Republican Headquarters at 8835 N. Knoxville Avenue in Peoria.

Anything you can do, big or small, is very much appreciated!