QUINCY -- Scott Graham, Adams County's chief deputy coroner, has announced he will seek the Republican nomination for coroner in the March 17, 2020, primary election.
The coroner's position -- currently held by Republican incumbent John Myers -- will be vacated at the end of Myers' term because Myers doesn't plan to seek re-election, he told The Herald-Whig over the weekend.
"I'm not running for re-election. I never intended to," said Myers, who was appointed to the coroner's post in July 2018 to fill the vacancy created by Jim Keller's sudden resignation. Myers was then elected in November 2018 to fill the remaining two years of Keller's unexpired four-year term.
"I was just trying to help the county out" by taking the reins as coroner at a time when the office was in a state of turmoil, he said.
Myers' departure means the coroner's position will now become a wide-open political race, and Graham is the first candidate to step forward.
According to a press release, Graham has been involved with the funeral home industry for more than 25 years.
After graduating form the Worsham College of Mortuary Science in Wheeling, where he earned a diploma in mortuary science, he received an apprentice license in 1993 and became a licensed funeral director and embalmer in 1994. Graham then went to work at the Kirlin-Egan & Butler Funeral Home in Springfield, where he got a chance to hone his embalming skills.
In 2006, Graham and Quincy native Matt Foley launched a mortuary support services business -- Central Illinois Trade Services -- to help funeral homes with their embalming needs.
In 2015, Graham was appointed deputy coroner in Morgan County, an appointment that gave him the opportunity to gain first-hand experience in how to investigate reports of deaths while working with other investigative agencies and emergency services.
He later took on a similar role in Adams County and now serves as Myers' chief deputy.
Graham said one of his most rewarding experiences has involved his association with the "Gift of Hope" organ and tissue donor network, which provides transportation and embalming services to improve and ease the donation process for donor families, coroners and funeral professionals.
Graham is a graduate of Camp Point Central High School. He also attended John Wood Community College before transferring to Worsham College of Mortuary Science.
Graham and his wife, Susan, have been married since 1993.
Graham plans to formally announce his candidacy during a campaign event from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at Tiramisu.