GALENA, Ill. -- Jo Daviess County State's Attorney John Hay has been appointed as an associate judge on the 15th Judicial Circuit. 

Hay was appointed following a vote by the circuit's judges, according to a press release from the Illinois Supreme Court. The 15th Circuit includes Jo Daviess County. 

Tom Schwamberger, 15th Judicial Circuit assistant court administrator, said Hay will begin in his new role on Jan. 6.

The Jo Daviess County Board will have to appoint someone to finish Hay's term as state's attorney, he said. Hay, a Republican, was just re-elected in this month's general election after running for another term unopposed. He first was elected to that position in 2012.

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Since Hay was the Jo Daviess County state's attorney, Schwamberger said 15th Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Robert Hanson will determine if another judge has to hear any Jo Daviess County cases once Hay begins his new role.

"If there's any conflict with cases, (Hay) won't be able to hear them," he said. 

Hay was among seven applicants to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Associate Judge Kevin Ward. Hay received both his undergraduate and Juris Doctorate degrees from Northern Illinois University.