UPDATED 8 P.M. FRIDAY, SEPT. 6:
YORKVILLE – Another Republican has entered the race for Kendall County Circuit Clerk.
Yorkville resident Michelle Halbesma formally announced her candidacy for the office at 4:45 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6 on the steps of the Kendall County Courthouse, 802 John St.
Halbesma said her husband, Steve, urged her to run for the office after Kendall County Circuit Clerk Robyn Ingemunson announced she will not be running for re-election. Halbesma said she has spent her entire career helping people in the criminal justice system, starting as a victim advocate in the courts and, most recently, being the deferred prosecution coordinator for the Kane County State's Attorney's office.
"Being a public servant is my passion, and being able to serve as circuit clerk in the community in which I live and raise my family would be an honor," Halbesma said during her speech.
Halbesma said she also has taken part of several community organizations – including the Kendall County Juvenile Justice Council and Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA, Kendall County – and has lived in Kendall County for 20 years. She said she has a master's degree in chriminal justice with a concentration in business administration and leadership from Aurora University.
Halbesma said after her announcement that her first orders of business, should she get elected, would include getting to know staff and finding out what would make things more efficient and easier for them. She said her main focuses would include advocating to moving the courtrooms to a paperless documentation system, much like Kane County's courts.
Halbesma said she also would move to install credit and debit card readers in every courtroom, along with the customer counter of the main office, which is also something Kane County does. She said she has noticed that, when someone takes a plea with the judge and they can go to the clerk sitting right there and pay it in full with a card, they would be more apt to do so.
"Whereas if you tell them, 'Well, here's an envelope, you're on court supervision for six months and just get it paid before the end,' when that person walks out of the door, you've lost some ability to ensure you're going to get that money," Halbesma said.
Halbesma's formal announcement comes after Ingemunson officially announced she will not be running for re-election last month.
Ingemunson was last elected in 2016 after she ran for the office unopposed after announcing her candidacy in 2015. She was appointed as interim clerk in June 2015 by the Kendall County Board until November 2016, according to county documents.
Ingemunson, who attended Halbesma's official announcement on Friday, Sept. 6, said she will be endorsing Halbesma's candidacy. Ingemunson said she has known Halbesma for a long time and worked with her before in the Kane County Circuit Clerk's office, where Ingemunson previously worked for about a decade.
"She has a good work ethic and I know she'll do a good job," Ingemunson said.
Kendall County Clerk Debbie Gillette confirmed Emily Carlson, also a Republican and Yorkville resident, has picked up a candidate petition ahead of the March primary election.
No Democratic candidates officially have announced they are running for the office to date.