Judith Lukas: 2024 candidate for DuPage County coroner


Party: Democrat

Office Sought: DuPage County coroner

City: Winfield

Age: 65

Occupation: Registered nurse

Previous offices held: I am a current elected Winfield Township Trustee and an elected Precinct Committeeperson

Why are you running for this office, whether for re-election or election for the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you? If so, what?

One of the coroner’s duties is to compile death statistics from substance use and suicide. These death rates continue to increase across all age groups. Mental health is at the forefront of peoples’ concern. As a Registered Nurse I can’t just report statistics. I need to take action. I will bring my public health background to the coroner’s position will do outreach in the community through events and health fairs to combat deaths from suicide and substance use. I am developing a program with mental health professionals to teach middle and high school students coping skills that they will be able to use in times of crises. As a nurse I developed close bonds with patients, oftentimes helping to facilitate end of life discussions with their families. Those I helped were grateful for my guidance and I was honored to be a part of their journey. I would be honored as Coroner to help families navigate the difficulty of losing their loved ones with dignity and grace.

If you are an incumbent, describe your main contributions. Tell us of any important initiatives you've led. If you are a challenger, what would you bring to the job and what would your priority be?


Describe your position regarding the allocation of resources in the coroner's office. Are personnel allocated as they should be? Are there capital expense or other budgetary items that the office must address, and, if so, how do you propose to address them?

People die 24 hours a day and the coroner’s office needs resources both human and financial in order to investigate deaths no matter when they occur. During my first 90 days in office I will meet with employees and conduct a needs assessment to ascertain past successes, current challenges and to solicit recommendations for improvement going forward. This will include general operations of the office and capital expenditures as well as personnel matters. I will take this information and analyze past budgets and workloads to determine what if any changes need to be made going forward.

Part of my role as coroner is fiscal responsibility. I will review the budget regularly comparing previous years budgets and expenses to projected needs to secure the availability of adequate funding in order to run an efficient science-based facility. I would ensure capital expenses are reviewed annually and items are forecasted to meet the department's needs and changing technology.

Describe your position on transparency and public service in the coroner's office and the ease of access to records by the public. If you believe improvements are needed, what are they and how would you go about achieving them?

As a health care professional I adhere to patient confidentiality and recognize the delicate balance between that and the needs of the public. I will actively disseminate information as quickly and freely as possible while being sensitive to families during their time of loss. I will comply with all Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and designate a FOIA officer.

In recent history there have been three deaths at the DuPage County jail and the public is waiting for information on these deaths. While some of the deaths may be from natural causes there are a lot of unanswered questions. Without transparency the public is left to speculate which leads to potential distrust. I will release information regarding all deaths that occur while in the custody of law enforcement via a press release.

What makes you the best candidate to represent your party to seek this position?

The coroner is responsible for all of the inner workings of the department. The forensic pathologists perform the autopsies and the sheriff’s deputies do the investigative work. I am the only candidate with a medical and a science background. This is essential as every death has a medical cause. My knowledge in anatomy and physiology will facilitate these investigations.

Everything in the field of medicine is evidence based just as death investigations are evidence based. My medical knowledge gives me a solid background in critical thinking, problem solving and data analysis. Prior to becoming a nurse I worked at the United States Postal Service. My duties included budgeting, forecasting and procuring equipment, training employees district wide and management. These are all necessary skills for a coroner.

Finally, I have been dealing with end of life issues my entire nursing career. I bring compassion, integrity, respect and honesty to the job.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.