By: Rachel A. Curry
Family has played a key role in shaping the life and professional career of Michael Hill, state’s attorney of Scott County. He first felt the calling to enter law enforcement, which led him to his current career, during the funeral procession of his father, James (Jim) Hill, in 1992 in Mt. Sterling. As Hill watched Karl Grosch, who at the time was a sergeant for the Illinois State Police, direct traffic during the procession with his squad car in the background, Hill became inspired. Hill knew then without a doubt that he wanted to portray Grosch’s public service image, the silent, dutiful sergeant doing his job loyally without looking for any thanks. Then when Hill became a father to Vanessa Hill, who is now three, the impact of parenthood made it personally more difficult to be in the know of what he learns through his job.
“I never really thought I would be here. This calling just kind of found me,” Hill said. “Being a father has hopefully made me a better public servant.”
On December 1, 2008, Hill took office as the state’s attorney of Scott County. He knew being a state’s attorney was the job he wanted to have, but he wasn’t sure what county he would end up representing. Hearing that there was a need for a new state’s attorney in Scott County, Hill opened a law firm in Winchester so people would have a way to get to know him. “They took a chance on me, and I certainly hope I have justified the chance they took,” he said. “I work every day to justify the opportunity they gave me.”
Hill does not take for granted the job he does for a living. He appreciates the opportunity he has to represent those who don’t have a voice. It is his time in court as a police officer, giving testimonies for trials, which led him to want to take even more of a legal stand in fighting criminals by becoming a state’s attorney. He likes the challenge of being able to assist the Scott County Board in getting the most done with the least amount of money. “I’m one of the few people who can swing their feet out of bed and enjoy going to work,” Hill said. “This has been the third greatest decision of my life, to come to Scott County and be their state’s attorney. The people here have welcomed me with open arms.”
Hill’s first “greatest decision” is marrying his supportive wife, Kelley Hill, and his second “greatest decision” is becoming a father. He is also very thankful for his secretary, Judy Lakin, who has been with him from the start of his state’s attorney career in Scott County. “I would be lost without her,” Hill said. “She is the lead state’s attorney, I just sign things.”
In 2016 Hill will be up for re-election and is getting ready for it. At the moment he does not know if anyone will be running against him. Regardless, Hill says he always runs like he is behind. He feels this is how anyone who is a servant to the public should run. In 2012 Hill defeated Mike Hankins of Jacksonville. When Hill got elected to be the state’s attorney of Scott County, he defeated the sitting state’s attorney, Judge David Cherry. Hill will step down as state’s attorney when he is no longer affective at his job. “I’m not anywhere near ready to retire,” he said.
In his spare time Hill likes to hunt and build airplane scale models. He would love to learn how to skydive or play the guitar.
Originally from Mt. Sterling, he worked as a police officer for the city of Mt. Sterling and was the chief of police for the village of Versailles. Hill graduated from law school at Ohio Northern University. After law school he worked for the law firm, Schuering & Associates in Springfield. Hill and his family reside in Winchester.
CUTLINE: Michael Hill, state’s attorney of Scott County, enjoys his job and is thankful to the residents of Scott County for giving him a chance to serve them. Being in a courtroom has had a strong impact on Hill’s life, and he is seen here in the courtroom of the Scott County Courthouse with his wife, Kelley, and their daughter, three-year-old Vanessa.