Grundy County's new state's attorney officially took office Monday, following a swearing-in ceremony at the Grundy County Courthouse.
In the upstairs courtroom, Judge Robert Marsaglia administered the oath of office to the newly elected Jason Helland, R-Mazon, who on Nov. 6 ousted incumbent John Bates, D-Morris.
Helland was joined by his wife, Sara; parents, Jerry and Joanne; and 13-day-old daughter, Harper, who was propped up in an infant carrier as he took the oath to support the the U.S. Constitution and Illinois Constitution and faithfully carry out the duties of office.
Helland took a moment to address the numerous Morris and Grundy County-area officials who were present for the ceremony.
"I'd like to thank all my supporters for coming out today," he said, choking up as he faced the group. "I didn't think that this was going to happen. It's just been a really emotional time."
He concluded on an inspiring note.
"All I've got to say is, if you work hard, anything can happen," he said.
Following the ceremony, Helland and his family greeted supporters in a casual receiving line with handshakes and hugs.
He said the swearing-in was the culmination of a long campaign.
"It's been a long year and a half, and I've made a lot of personal sacrifices.There's a lot of times that I should have been spending time with my family and I was out campaigning, working hard to make it happen, so I became a little bit emotional."
Helland identified his first items of business as personnel-related — he said Susan Bates, the county's assistant state's attorney who headed the civil division, retired Friday. He said he hopes to fill the position by the end of the year.
Additionally, he said, Assistant State's Attorney Ron Ellis also has retirement plans on the horizon for the end of Summer 2013.
"In the first 30 days, my main goals are to get individuals into these positions who are competent and who reflect my values," he said.
When it comes to starting the new job, he said he's most looking forward to working to protect Grundy County residents.
"Every decision in my office that I make is going to revolve around protecting the public, making Grundy County a safer place to live," he said. "I look forward to working with local law enforcement and getting the job going, getting back into my normal routine."
Marsaglia also swore in Circuit Clerk Karen Slattery Monday morning. She ran unopposed in the election. Coroner John Callahan, who was also re-elected last month, was sworn in last week because of a prior commitment Monday.