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It#039;s official: Collins seeks to stay judge

With almost a quarter of a century under his belt - err, robe - Judge O. Clark Collins will seek another 6 years as Ironton Municipal Judge.

Collins, 57, officially filed on Friday his petition to seek reelection to the post that he was first elected to in 1981 as one of the youngest judges in the state.

"When I was elected, I realized soon thereafter that I had found my calling.

I have enjoyed every day that I have served the citizens as Ironton Municipal Judge," he said. "I feel that I have made a difference by making our community better and safer.

Further, I believe that I have made a difference in the lives of many of the people that have come before me."

Collins will face Ironton attorney Kevin Waldo in November for the 6-year term that begins in January 2006.

Touting his accomplishments, Collins points out that he has received numerous awards from the Ohio Supreme Court and that the probation department has been rated in the top three within the State of Ohio for the past two years. The court also had the highest DUI conviction rate in the state but Collins emphasized that he is fair and impartial and remains one of the least appealed trial courts within the district.

Collins is most proud of the community service program that he began, which helped pave the way for other courts in the state. The judge

believes the program has saved the taxpayers millions of dollars over the years.

Participants of the program cut grass in public areas, maintain the right of ways, cemeteries, assist with maintenance required at Paul Porter Park in Coal Grove and trash pickup where necessary.

"I feel good things are coming from the Ironton Municipal Court, with our community service program being a particular favorite of mine," he said. "I want to continue the programs that I have begun and I hope to leave a lasting mark of improvement in Ironton and Lawrence County."

The former high school teacher and coach is a lifelong resident of Ironton and a graduate of Ironton High School. He received a degree from Ohio University and graduated from the Ohio State University College of Law. He also served as Commander of the Ironton Detachment of 216th Engineering Battalion of the Ohio National Guard.

The son of the late State Senator Oakley C. and Juanita Collins, the younger Collins is the father of two sons, Justin and Christopher.