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Friends compete for 23rd Circuit judgeship

Having known each other for more than 30 years, the two candidates for circuit judge say they work well together, and voters will benefit from two good choices.

Democrat Ron Matekaitis and Republican Bill Brady are running for the position of circuit judge in the 23rd Judicial Circuit in the Nov. 6 election.

Both currently serve as associate judges in the 16th Judicial Circuit, which includes DeKalb, Kane and Kendall counties.

DeKalb and Kendall counties will break off in December and form the 23rd Judicial Circuit. No matter who is elected Nov. 6, both men will remain judges.

While circuit judges have to be elected, associate judges are appointed by circuit judges.

In addition to appointing other judges, circuit judges approve rules that govern circuit operations and can hear felony criminal cases.

Before being appointed judge in 2009, Matekaitis served as DeKalb County’s state’s attorney for nine years.

He’s also been the city attorney for DeKalb, village attorney for Kirkland and Waterman, a state’s attorney appellate prosecutor and a special assistant attorney general.

Matekaitis also served on the DeKalb County Board and DeKalb City Council.

His decision to pursue a career in law was partly inspired by the Watergate scandal and the idea that everyone is equal under the law.

“I thought that was an awesome concept, that the law evens everything out,” he said.

Matekaitis said he enjoys positions that come with decision-making abilities and learned as state’s attorney that things aren’t always black and white.

“You literally have to weigh the results of your decisions ... and be accountable for the results of those decisions,” he said.

Brady has served as a judge since 2003. Before that, he was a partner at a private law firm for 18 years, and worked as a prosecutor in the DeKalb County State’s Attorney’s Office from 1975-85.

Brady said he appreciates the variety involved in the judiciary, including both criminal and civil law.

“For me, it’s like picking one of your children,” he said of the two areas.

As a lawyer, Brady said he enjoyed working with different clients each day and putting people at ease as they dealt with the legal system. That same type of interaction appeals to him as a judge, where he tries to treat everyone civilly.

In matters of campaign contributions, Matekaitis has said he will not accept donations from attorneys or their spouses during the campaign to avoid any appearance of impropriety.

Brady said he didn’t solicit or accept any donations from attorneys at two campaign fundraisers that have been held for him.

He said both he and Matekaitis likely will be the biggest donors to their respective campaigns.

The two have known each other since 1976 and have worked together in different capacities.

Matekaitis said knowing his opponent well makes campaigning easier in some respects and more difficult in others.

Regardless of the outcome, Matekaitis said the two will continue to work well together and remain friends.

“I think that the noteworthy thing about this campaign, is that the people voting in this election are going to have two good people to vote for,” Brady said.

Ron Matekaitis
Party: Democrat
Family: Married, three children
Education: Bachelor's and law degrees from Northern Illinois University
Occupation: Associate judge

Bill Brady
Party: Republican
Family: Married, three children
Education: Bachelor's degree from the University of Notre Dame; law degree from Loyola University
Occupation: Associate judge

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