Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Decorated War Veteran Hal Fritz endorses John P. Vespa for Judge

With less than three weeks to go before election day, John has been overwhelmed by the support he has received from his friends, family and the community at large. The endorsement of his campaign by Hal Fritz, a combat decorated Vietnam Veteran, has been one of his most humbling moments. Here is what Mr. Fritz had to say:

"I am very cautious about alignment with political candidates. I am genuinely convinced that John Vespa is the best qualified candidate to fill the judicial position he is seeking. Although he is not a service Veteran, he has been where "the rubber meets the road" as a police officer and pro bono legal advisor to the Veteran community! He has a thorough understanding of "people issues" and will be a fairminded judge for all citizens that come before him. He is not seeking the position for personal gain but rather to "give back to the community" It is indeed a rarity to find an individual so devoted to justice and fairness for everyone irregardless of racial,ethnic,family, or financial background! His heart is with Peoria and its people and you cannot get better than that!"

For more information about Hal Fritz and his valiant service to our nation see the MSNBC report on Congressional Medal of Honor Recipients.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Political Sign Etiquette

In just a few short weeks the local landscape will be peppered with political signs of all colors, shapes, and sizes. It's a slightly annoying, but accepted expression of our democracy. It can also be a fun game for your kids to count the signs as you drive from one destination to another!

John Vespa feels that an honorable sign campaign is a reflection on the character of the candidate. It is our opinion that with Sheriff and Judicial races in particular, the candidate must be respectful to the public, and observe all laws and ordinances regarding private property and signage.

For these reasons, we promise that we, and anyone acting on John's behalf, will observe the following legal and ethical guidelines regarding political signs. This is our pledge to you:

1. Signs will only be placed on private property with the express permission of the owner of said property.

2. There will be no more than 1 sign per yard in a residential setting, unless the property is a corner lot.

3. Signs in residential settings shall be placed on the side of the sidewalk closest to the house. If there is no sidewalk, the sign should be placed to the inside of the imaginary line connecting telephone poles.

4. No signs will be placed on public right of ways, boulevards, and medians. (It's the law!)

5. Meticulous care must be taken that the sign does not obstruct the view of traffic coming from any direction.

6. We will never handle the sign of another candidate, without permission from that candidate. Instead, all violations will be reported to the owner of said property or the township.

7. The wire sign poles should be pushed as far into the ground as they can go, ideally leaving only 1" of space between the bottom of the sign and ground. This will make for a stable sign that is not likely to blow over and be an eyesore.

8. All signs will be removed within 72 hours after the election.

If you have any problems regarding our sign placement, please call Diane at 645-8608. Also, please let us know if you would like a sign in your yard and/or are willing to help us put up political signs. We have the lists, just looking for some muscles! We look forward to a colorful and informative sign season!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

This one is for Carl!

Our friend Carl was teasing us via Facebook that this blog has gone practically dormant since we established the Facebook page. He is right, of course, but that's changing. We plan on resuming a regular update of this page. Truth be told, there are quite a few advantages to the FB environment. For instance, it is much easier to upload pics to Facebook. Plus, FB's character limit forces us to get to the point - which saves time. A drawback, however, is that it is difficult to tell a story or develop a thought. The blog, on the other hand, offers an opportunity to articulate a point of view- like how we are holding up after 14 months of campaigning.

People ask us all the time if we are tired or burned out. Our answer, 95% of the time, is "not in the least bit". Call it stupid, call it adrenaline. The truth is we are energized by voters. Nearly every person has a story. They are all so different, yet so alike. It's a crazy-wonderful experience that neither myself, John, or the kids will ever forget. Most every weekend is a jam-packed itinerary for John. This past weekend was no exception. It brought him to nearly every county in the Circuit. John hates to turn people down. No matter where you live, no matter who you are, your concerns matter. He never forgets that, and he won't forget it if elected to the bench.

If you haven't yet had an opportunity to meet John, chances are you will by November. His goal is to meet every person in the 10th Judicial Circuit. To stay updated on his itinerary please send an e-mail to and request to be on the campaign updates e-mail blasts. Or you can call the campaign office at 309-251-VOTE!(8683) to invite him to your event. A busy, busy season of festivals and parades is right around the corner and we invite you to be part of it. Also, stay tuned to this blog for some exciting events that are in the works!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ready to Rock-n-Roll!

The venue is reserved, the menu selected, the entertainer hired and the party favors have arrived! You are invited to the "Citizens for John Vespa" General election campaign kick-off and beach party fundraiser at Mt. Hawley Country Club on June 10th. The Campaign kickoff promises an evening of camaraderie with friends united for a common cause. We will enjoy a tropical atmosphere, festive dining and entertainment with a short address by the candidate in preparation for a lively Summer and Fall Campaign Season. We hope to see familiar smiling faces from the primary season along with some new ones. One thing is for sure - you will have a blast! See you there!
Citizens for John Vespa Campaign Kickoff Invite

Monday, March 15, 2010

Washington Mayor Gary Manier endorses John Vespa for Judge

John is honored to have the endorsement of Gary Manier, the Mayor of Washington, IL.

"I met John for the 1st time in November at our Mayor's Prayer Breakfast. We have seen each other at many events since and he always has time to chat. I believe that John has the integrity and the commitment to be a very good Judge. I'm proud to endorse John and will be working hard to help him be successful in the upcoming election."

We have very much enjoyed the time we have spent campaigning and getting to know our friends in the city of Washington. We appreciate the support of the Mayor and John promises to merit it! Look for the campaign at the Washington Cherry Festival in June.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Facebook page up and running!

We finally buckled down and created a Facebook page after multiple requests for same. The page launched late last week and over 300 friends have signed up as "Fans". Facebook is a far more hospitable venue for posting multiple photos so check the site frequently for photo additions. We also very much enjoy the interaction with friends, old and new. So please visit, become a fan, leave a comment or two, and join us as we march towards the Fall general election.

John has been busy with post primary activities. We think we have most of the campaign signs down and stored temporarily. A huge thank you to Jack Murhpy of Murphy's U-Store-It who donated the use of a storage facility. He has beautiful facilities all over Illinois so if you need a little extra elbow room in your home, consider giving him a call. If you still have a sign in your yard please store it in your garage until Fall, or give us a call at 251-VOTE(8683) and we can pick it up for you.

This weekend we plan to take the kids on a mini-vacation to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield. If you haven't been there yet you don't know what you are missing! Definitely one of our favorite destinations!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Primary Victory!

The campaign is pleased to report that the final results have been tallied and John P. Vespa has won the GOP nomination for Judge of the Tenth Judicial Circuit (Vespa vacancy) with 47% of the vote. We are elated and very grateful to the voters. We feel that John's moderate and principled upbringing, reasoned and calm demeanor, strong background in law enforcement and community service, and his ability to reach out to and connect with people from varied walks of life resonated with the voters.

John wants to thank his extended family, his many friends and supporters, his life-long friends who have stood beside him, and those that he works with on a daily basis and strongly support his campaign.

He also would like to recognize the worthiness of his opponents, Valerie Moehle Umholtz and Bruce Thiemenn, both outstanding individuals and attorneys who brought their considerable respective talents to the table. We are proud of not only our campaign but theirs. This race was "fact and ideas based" and featured a very high level of discourse that served the voters well. As mud is being flung about in other races, John felt fortunate to be in a race where all the candidates demonstrated a mutual respect toward one another and maintained their focus on the public for whom they wish to serve.

We now move on to the General Election, with an election date of November 2, 2010. John's Democratic opponent is attorney Chris Spanos.

We may take a few weeks off the campaign trail to clean our house and focus on our children, but will be back better and stronger than ever to complete the final phase of this extraordinarily exciting journey. Thank you to all of the blog readers, our friends and family, the campaign volunteers who worked so tirelessly, and of course the voters! We are truly humbled by the honor of participating in the democratic process. God bless you all!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Election Eve!

Well the primary election day is upon us and tomorrow by this time we should know the results of our efforts. Throughout the campaign season, I was worried about this night - worried that we would be so nervous we wouldn't be able to sleep. But a strange calm has settled over the house. A calm that has emerged from the knowledge that we have given it all we got. We truly feel that no stone has been left unturned, and win or lose, that's all we got! We hope that we have touched everyone in some way and not been too annoying.

Our wish for tomorrow is that many, many people vote. We are so privileged to live in a democracy, but a democracy must be cherished and nurtured through our close attention and participation. We have both felt humbled and privileged to be a part of the process.

Tomorrow we invite you to join us for an election eve party at Agatucci's restaurant on University Drive. We will have the entire restaurant to ourselves and we hope to see many familiar smiling faces.

Here is a note from John:

Dear Friends,

I want to take this opportunity to thank you all for your assistance in my campaign. I am truly humbled by your loyalty. Whether you marched in parades, walked neighborhoods, wrote letters, attended fundraisers, put up yard signs, or performed some other helpful activity, I truly appreciate it.

Tomorrow is Election Day. We will find out how successful our efforts were. Regardless of the Election Night outcome, your support has been overwhelming. If we are successful, our journey will be only partially complete. We will then move on to the General campaign, which has an Election Day of November 2nd.

We live in the greatest country in the world and it has been an honor to participate in its political process. I have gained an immeasurable amount of knowledge on the campaign trail, and I will never forget the kindness that was extended to my family by so many of you.

I look forward to seeing all of you at Agatucci’s on Election Night, beginning at 7:00 p.m.. We can watch the results come in together.

Thank you so much. Words can not express the gratitude I feel toward all of you right now. God bless you.

John P. Vespa
Attorney At Law
411 Hamilton Blvd.
Suite 1900
Peoria, Illinois 61602
Phone: 309-671-0700
Fax: 309-673-8791
Criminal Law and Family Law

Honorable mention

On January 31, an article relating to the efforts of some local campaigns to connect with voters on-line appeared in the Peoria Journal Star. You'll notice some comments by me relating to this blog so check it out! Thank you to reporter Ruth Longoria Kingsland for the nice coverage on an interesting and emerging topic.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Schock endorses Vespa for Circuit Judge

Peoria, Illinois – U.S. Congressman Aaron Schock has officially endorsed John Vespa for the Republican nomination for Circuit Judge in the 10th Judicial Circuit.

In a statement, Schock praised Vespa for his “depth and breadth of experience in the law”, making specific reference to Vespa’s career in civil and criminal law, extensive litigation experience, and years as a police officer.

Schock commented, “John Vespa has an inherent passion for the law that will enable him to find appropriate justice for the cases before him. I have great confidence in [him] to make fair judgments that protect the innocent and fairly discern guilt or innocence. When legitimate evidence warrants the finding of guilt, I have no doubt John will be a no-nonsense judge with strict sentences handed out to violent criminals.”

He continued, “John Vespa is a deeply honest man who has always been above reproach and he will reflect well on our judicial system.”

In addition to Schock’s backing, Vespa has received endorsements from more than 30 elected officials, including Representative Dave Leitch and Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis, who said, “I have known John and his entire family my whole life. The Vespa name is known and respected throughout this community as a hard-working, play-by-the-rules family. As judge, John will display those characteristics as he administers justice.” Vespa’s support extends well into the community, with more than 150 endorsements on his webpage alone, including business leaders, educators, retired professionals and families. For more information, visit

The 10th Judicial Circuit includes Peoria, Tazewell, Stark, Marshall and Putnam Counties. Early voting is underway now, with the primary election on Tuesday, February 2.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Rolling out a 30 second ad spot- updated!

Updated 1/31/10 - In case you have missed it, this add spot has been running on Fox News throughout the day. The creator of the commercial, Dave Smith, is thrilled! "Little did I know that as I tinkered around with this little hobby of mine it would some day play on Fox News!" he said.

Thank you to our good friend Dave Smith who created and produced the 30 second video spot below. We are really pleased with how it turned out. Even the dogs cooperated! Dave has many talents. For instance, he can solve a Rubix cube in under 2 minutes! Right now, though, we are just tickled with his video-making abilities.

Currently, this ad is running on

If your campaign committee is in need of a videographer, we would highly recommend Dave! Call the campaign headquarters at 309-251-8683 (vote!) if you would like his contact information.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Top Ten reasons you should early vote!

Early voting is underway. Why, you may ask, should you vote early? Besides the obvious reasons, there are many advantages you may enjoy if you vote before Election Day. Here are the reasons with some help from our friends at

1. It's the middle of January. What else is there to do?

2. Vote early, because what happens if the day you intended to go vote, a lettuce truck tips over in front of your house and you have to run to the store to buy some ranch dressing because, hey, free salad.

3. It will not interfere with your party plans for Ground Hogs Day!

4. You can laugh maniacally at further campaign robocalls.

5. At candidate forums you can surf Facebook on your Blackberry instead of listen.

6. Not likely but conceivable you could oversleep past 7:00PM on election day and that would be a shame if you hadn't voted yet.

7. As your friends around you discuss politics and who they are going to vote for you you can just whistle, shuffle your feet and look around with a smug look on your face.

8. You'll get a lot more mileage out of the "I voted" stickers they give you after you vote.

9. You don't have to cut in line because there is no line.

10. Your Mom called and said you should early vote!

Obviously these are all in good fun. Please remember that if your life is full and busy, or you tend to get overwhelmed, consider early voting. We hope you choose to vote for John. If you need a ride to the polls, please call the campaign headquarters at 309-251-8683(VOTE) and we will make sure you get there and return home safely.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Early voting begins!

Dear Friends,

It is hard to believe but the time is upon us to VOTE VOTE VOTE! Since this is a primary with typically low turnout, every vote really counts! You can now vote starting tomorrow!

For voting information:

If you live in Peoria County, click here

If you live in the city of Peoria, click here and click to Page two

If you live in Tazewell County, click here

If you live in Stark County, click here

If you live Putnam County, click here

If you live in Marshall County, click here

Remember to bring a photo ID with you. Also, if you are NOT REGISTERED to vote, you can register to vote and vote at the same time by bringing two forms of ID with you to the County Clerk's office (of the county in which you reside). One can be your drivers license and the other must have your current address, such as a Cilco bill.

It's so easy that there is no excuse to not vote.

Vote early so you can rest assured that come heck or high water, you have upheld your civic duty.

Of course, we ask that you cast your vote for John Vespa for Circuit Judge! To vote for John you must request a Republican Ballot. You must work all the way down to the bottom of the ballot. The ballot looks like this.

If you have any questions please call me at 309-645-8608 and I can help make sure you make it to the right place with the proper documents. If you need a ride, call me at 645-8608! I have a slightly dog-haired mini-van but it has four wheel drive and will get you safely to the polls and back home despite the worst of snowstorms.

Please forward this to anyone you know that lives in the Circuit and who you would think would be interested in voting for John. Also, if the weather clears up and you would be willing to walk your neighborhood for John, please let me know and I will bring you a stack of stuff. You can also e-mail and telephone your friends. All efforts made to bring people to the polls to vote would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you again for all your continued support, and happy voting!! We are in the home stretch!! Hoping and praying for a victory on election day!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

An Interview with Campaign Treasurer Paul Sullivan

As campaign finance reporting deadlines draw near, we are reminded once again of how blessed we are to have such an experienced and competent Campaign Treasurer. When it came to identifying a Campaign Treasurer, fortunately, we did not have to look far. Paul Sullivan and his wife DD have been our dear friends and neighbors for over 12 years, and he willingly stepped up to the plate. Below is a brief interview with Paul.

Q. Paul can you Please tell the voters a little about yourself?

A. I was the Administrator (Business Mgr) of Quinn Johnston Henderson Pretorius & Cerulo for 22 years. I served on the ISBA Committee on Law Office Management for 15 years including Chairman in 2007-2008. I wrote a lot of articles for the Illinois Bar Journal and had a regular column called the "Lawyers Office". I also made presentations at ISBA conferences on Law Office Management and have generally been known as the expert within the ISBA on Law Office Management topics.

Q. How long have you known the candidate John Vespa?

A. We met in 1997 when the Vespa's moved right next door. John went through law school with one of the Partners at the law firm I managed. The partner filled me in on all the things to look for regarding John. In spite of the fact that I have been his next door neighbor for 12 years and know all his law school secrets, I'm still supporting him for Judge.

Q. Do you have a background in Campaign finance?

A. I have been Campaign Treasurer for many campaigns over the years and this will be my fourth judicial campaign. I have been Treasurer for Mary McDade (won), assisted Steve Kouri, (won) Paul Gilfillan (won). All winners. There is no reason to believe the winning streak will be broken this time. For all those people who are supporting John, and talking to their friends, relatives, acquaintances and colleagues, etc., be sure to tell them that John's supporters need to be sure and vote. Be sure and have people vote for John because there will be a lot of interest at the top of the ticket this year with the impending election of a new Governor and the US Senate Seat(formerly the Obama seat and currently being held by Roland Burriss)

Q. What compelled you to take on this awesome responsibility for John?

A. I think that the filing requirements and all the record-keeping is extremely detailed and important. A candidate, especially in a judicial campaign, doesn't need the headaches of questions surrounding his fundraising. First of all, I would support John in any case, but with my expertise it is one less thing that he will have to worry about.

Q. What are the responsibilities of a Campaign Treasurer?

A. Tracking the contributions, making sure that if a contribution meets a certain threshold, it is reported properly and make sure that all the filing deadlines are met, as well as keeping very accurate and detailed records. All of this I have done in the ordinary course of my career. I have a strong accounting background so this comes naturally to me.

Q. So what is it like living next door to the Vespa Family?

A. Do you really want me to answer that? John is not the problem. It's Diane. I can't get any sleep because of all the TV satellite trucks pulled up in the front yard. John is a great father and really involved with the kids. He is an all around good guy. Knowing lawyers like I do, he'll make a great judge.

End interview

On a personal note, it has been a pleasure and honor to have the Sullivan's as neighbors. They are great people. We cannot express enough our gratitude for Paul's hard work and for DD allowing us to take Paul away from their literally award-winning gardening. DD is a Master Gardner and their yard would rival the Luthy Botanical Gardens. Paul on the other hand, is a great yodeler. He can often be heard yodeling from great distances. Or that might be the bull frogs that live in his pond. It's hard to tell the difference.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Peoria Times Observer

John had the pleasure of meeting with intrepid reporter DeWayne Bartels of the Peoria Times Observer for an article DeWayne was writing about folks that work in downtown Peoria.

John was a great one to interview because he LOVES the downtown area and has worked there for many years. He'd live there if he could.

Here is a link to the article DeWayne wrote and published in last weeks Peoria Times Observer. It is interesting to note the similarities in many of the comments.

Most of DeWaynes articles are up close and personal accounts of local news, local people and local perspectives. He is an entertaining writer who often sees the glass as half full - a very refreshing perspective from a reporter. Despite his down-low style of working a room, DeWayne can tackle the tough issues as well. So don't let him fool you!

I would say the jury is in. People love to work and play in downtown Peoria!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

It's Wednesday, it must be LACON!

On Wednesday, January 13, our good friend Rudy Arnold from Lacon will be hosting a casual "Meet and Greet" for John at Kenyon's Restaurant in Lacon, IL from 5:00 - 7:00PM. There is no cost to attend this event but all participants will pay for the cost of their own meal. By popular request, John will give a short talk regarding the Second Amendment. This event is open to all but please RSVP to the campaign headquarters at 309-251-VOTE(8683) or shoot a quick e-mail to We expect a casual, relaxed atmosphere just a few weeks out from election day! Kenyon's restaurant is located at 1217 5th Street, Lacon. Fifth Street in Lacon is actually Hwy. 17. A very short and easy less than 25 minute drive from any of the 4 surrounding counties (Peoria, Tazewell, Stark and Putnam. Hope you can make it!

photo courtesy of

Friday, January 1, 2010

John Vespa welcomed to the Pekin Chamber of Commerce

Thank you to the Pekin Chamber of Commerce for the warm welcome to their organization. We met the Pekin Chamber staff at a "Business After Hours" social event a few months ago and decided to join. The cost was reasonable and the Chamber offers a multitude of member services that we felt would help the campaign connect with Tazewell County voters.

The ribbon cutting for John's campaign is featured here in the January Newsletter. The Pekin Chamber of Commerce also has a monthly blog written by it's executive officer, Bill Fleming and you will find regular updates on their Facebook Fan Page. Bill does a great job representing Pekin businesses and the Chamber is fortunate to have a leader who stays current with emerging trends and is comfortable executing the popular new technologies.

We look forward to continuing to get to know our neighbors to the East in John's campaign for the Tenth Judicial Circuit.

Happy New Year!

written by John P. Vespa

Welcome to 2010! Well, we have accomplished a lot and learned a lot on the campaign trail. Hopefully, you all had as much fun as I did. Although, the race is definitely not over. Early voting starts on January 11th, and Election day is February 2nd. There is still plenty for me to do. There will likely be one or two more Meet & Greets, to be announced soon. In the next week or so, I will be announcing an Election Night location for us all to watch the results come in together. Thank you to all of our volunteers for your hard work and support. We look forward to sharing the new year with you, and we pray, God willing, for Victory in 2010!