As we reach the end of the 2018 election season, I invite local voters to consider our local Municipal Judge’s election. The current Municipal Judge has long sat in judgment of residents appearing in Municipal Court and been the leader of the direction of municipal justice in our town. It goes without saying that Judge Kirk has put in thousands of hours of service over the last decades and deserves our respect and thanks.
However, in the demanding and changing times in our community and country, to represent the needs and views of an increasingly new and younger community and to develop the future vision necessary to fashion solutions to the issues we face, it is time to look to new and younger leadership.
This new leadership takes the form of a woman who is a practicing lawyer with both prosecutorial and defense counsel experience. Elizabeth Allen has a lawyer’s training, years of courtroom experience, and at the same time, wide ranging work and volunteer time on youth and juvenile justice issues in the community. She is a dedicated community asset, youth advocate and proven professional.
Electoral decisions are not always binary affairs where it is simply one candidate is the better of the other and one wins at the expense of the other. Such is the case in our Municipal Judge election this year. Alan Kirk has been a dedicated and honorable public servant as a police officer and judge for many years. But Elizabeth Allen is an accomplished professional who brings valuable and wider insights into and fresh connections with the residents of the County.
At the risk of overinflating the importance of the Municipal Judge’s office, I refer to the words of President Lincoln in his State of the Union address in 1862 and thinking of the turbulent current state of affairs in our country, some of the most disturbing of which have occurred in just the last week:
“The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew.”
Judges are elected not just to administer fair and even justice, but to also be an important conscience and sense of the community. As our community continues to deal with the same issues of poverty, educational performance, behavioral health treatment and criminal punishments that have long driven criminal behavior and recidivism, permanent solutions still elude us and fresh views and insights, tempered by years of current involvement, are what we need at this time.
Our current Judge brings a career of law enforcement to the bench. I believe our Municipal Judge should have broader outlook and more closely resemble some of the changing demographic and experience of residents who come before Municipal Court. Youthful offenders, and their parents, will be better understood and adjudicated by a Court presided over by a Judge with legal training and experience, who is more contemporary in age.
Elizabeth Allen represents a new generation of candidate, prepared by legal education and a wealth of courtroom experience, to be the face and voice of municipal justice and represent our community’s values into the future.
I ask you to consider giving Elizabeth Allen your vote for Municipal Judge.