CHAMPAIGN — Among the many other firsts nationwide this election day, one was made in eastern Illinois- Champaign County elected the state’s first openly gay county sheriff.
Dustin Heuerman, who ran as a Democrat, is a first-time office holder. He held an interview with local TV station WCIA about the transition to taking office.
He’s already reached out to predecessor, Sheriff Dan Walsh in hopes of making a smooth transition.
One of his first goals is to meet with people at the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office to build a relationship. He’s also been in contact with the County Executive-elect Darlene Kloeppel.
They’ve discussed making a strategic plan for the entire county which includes focusing on the jail.
Heuerman also wants to work closely with the villages, make sure the sheriff’s office is tech-friendly, and make a plan to address mental illness.
Voters’ decision to elect Heuerman was historical. He’s the first Democratic sheriff in years and the first openly gay sheriff.
Heuerman says he’s been fighting the LGBTQ stereotype throughout his law enforcement career.
Heuerman’s four-year term starts in December.