ROCKFORD - Winnebago County voters have chosen two new judges in the 17th Circuit, as State's Attorney Joe Bruscato, a Democrat, and John Lowry, a Republican have earns spots on the bench.
Bruscato, who will replace outgoing judge Rosemary Collins, faced current associate judge Donna Honzel, a Republican, and his victory signals a long trend of former state's attorneys ascending to the bench. He won just over 51 percent of votes (45,333) to Honzel's 48 percent (43,524), according to Winnebago County results.
"I have always been humbled when the voters chose to support me," Bruscato said. "This occasion is a very special one and gives me a chance to serve on the bench. That is a great opportunity."
Bruscato said he wants to focus on two key issues: combating domestic violence in the county through the eventual development of the Family Justice Center and be a champion of causes that give youth in Winnebago County a better chance to succeed.
"I am looking forward to taking the bench and serving the community, and doing what work I can to make the community a better place," Bruscato said.
Collins is set to retire at the end of this year.
Bruscato has served as state's attorney since 2008, with over 30 years of practicing law behind him. He previously served as Brown County district attorney in Wisconsin.
Lowry will fill the judge's position being vacated by Ed Prochaska, earned 44,442 votes or 50.6 percent of the vote compared to Democrat candidate Ann Dempsy who received 43,389 votes or 49.4 percent of the vote.
Lowry serves as associate judge in Winnebago County, first being appointed to the post in 2007.
Both men will take office on Dec. 3 if the unofficial results stand.