SPRINGFIELD — President Donald Trump on Thursday nominated Sangamon County State’s Attorney John Milhiser to be the U.S. attorney for the 46-county Central District of Illinois.

“We are pleased that the president has nominated Mr. Milhiser,” U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, both Illinois Democrats, said in a joint statement. “Mr. Milhiser has served the people of Sangamon County as state’s attorney for eight years, and we expect him to be a diligent, thoughtful and principled U.S. attorney. … The nonpartisan screening committee we established to evaluate potential candidates came to the same conclusion and recommended him as well. We look forward to seeing his nomination through the Senate.”

Milhiser, 48, a married father of two teenage daughters, said he is honored to be nominated.

"As my nomination progresses through the Senate, I will continue to focus on my current position and the important work of the Sangamon County State’s Attorney’s office," he said.

The U.S. attorney’s job is held on an interim basis by John Childress, who earlier headed the criminal division in the office.

U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood, R-Peoria, complained earlier this year that it had taken too long for Trump to name someone to the post. The previous U.S. attorney, Jim Lewis, retired in December 2016 — after Trump was elected but before he took office.

LaHood was pleased with Milhiser's nomination.

“John Milhiser is a career prosecutor with a tremendous record of being tough on crime and enforcing the rule of law," LaHood said Thursday. "He is an excellent choice to lead the Central District of Illinois as U.S. attorney. Over the last eight years, John has been extremely effective, along with law enforcement, in making Sangamon County a safer place to live and work. His reputation for integrity and fairness will serve him and the citizens of the Central District well. Having been recommended with bipartisan support, we urge our colleagues in the Senate to move swiftly to confirm him.”

Milhiser, a Republican like Trump, has been state’s attorney since 2010. He started his legal career in the state’s attorney’s office in 1997 and spent time in the juvenile, civil and felony divisions before entering private practice in 2003. He returned to the state’s attorney’s office in 2008 as the first assistant.

Milhiser is president of the Illinois State’s Attorneys Association. He is a graduate of James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Va., and the University of Illinois College of Law.

He was one of four names forwarded to the White House and Justice Department for consideration for the federal prosecutor's job. The others were:

• Tim Bass, an assistant U.S. attorney in Springfield.

• Joe Hartzler, who has served as a special counsel for Gov. Bruce Rauner and was the lead prosecutor in the case against Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.

• Thomas Keith, retiring Stark County judge and a former federal prosecutor.

Contact Bernard Schoenburg at bernard.schoenburg@sj-r.com, 788-1540 or twitter.com/bschoenburg.