Vargas running for Champaign County state's attorney
Army veteran, former police officer and Republican George Vargas recently announced his candidacy for Champaign County State's Attorney, challenging incumbent Democrat Julia Rietz on a platform of “fair but firm” justice administration and protection for citizens.
“I want to be part of a community effort to reduce crime in Champaign County,” Vargas said. “I want to help bring caring individuals and organizations together to protect our families.”
Stressing community safety, Vargas pointed to his experience patrolling Champaign as a policeman, protecting citizens as an assistant public defender, and defending his nation in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan.
“As a candidate for Champaign County State’s Attorney, I am committed to the firm but fair administration of justice,” Vargas said, noting that not only neighborhoods but also schools need enhanced security. “Champaign County citizens need to know that the justice system operates equitably for all. We need to be assured that dangerous criminals will be put behind bars where they will no longer threaten our families and neighborhoods.”
With his highest priorities being safety and equity, Vargas wants to supplement existing structures with new programs. Besides working alongside local law enforcement to corral violent criminals and repeat offenders — including drug dealers — he also wants to re-establish regional Mental Health Court and Adult Diversion Program, plus explore the possibility of creating a Veteran's Court.
“(T)he Adult Diversion Program … is key in keeping non-violent first offenders out of the criminal justice system,” he said. “I also plan on developing, through hiring and training, the best staff in the state of Illinois.”
A native of Costa Rica, Vargas moved to the U.S. in 1987, living in Champaign, joining the United States Army at 17, and eventually returning to Champaign. He graduated from the University of Illinois in 1998 with a double major in Sociology and Political Science.
Vargas maintains military ties through the Illinois Army National Guard and serves as a senior assistant public defender with the Champaign County Public Defender’s Office.
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