Ironton judge post needs new vision

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 6, 2005

One of Lawrence County's most hotly contested political races in recent years will end on Tuesday - thankfully.

The decision over who will sit on the bench of the Ironton Municipal Court has drawn much discussion and cost more than a few friendships to be stressed, if not broken, and for good measure.

Both candidates, Judge O. Clark Collins Jr. and challenger Kevin J. Waldo, have pulled some shenanigans and acted very un-judge like during the heated race.

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From almost constant bickering and side taking to questionable campaign practices, this race has left us - and we expect many other citizens - with a bad taste in our mouths and with the desire in our hearts to just make it end. Combined, both candidates have spent large sums of money just to claim victory.

We've interviewed both candidates. We've reviewed their records and talked to others who know them.

The municipal judge position is a critical one to our system of justice. Aside from leading the court system, the judge manages an office that handles huge sums of cash through court fines and fees.

So having the best person on the bench is important to the justice system and to the community it serves.

Judge Collins has served in that role for nearly a quarter of a century. Through his years of service, Collins has served the community well. He's done a good job in his position; however, we feel it is time for a change.

One of the tenets of our system of government is that we should not have political dynasties.

Our first president, George Washington, realized this and resigned from office after only eight years in office. Our nation has since created term limits for our presidents. The State of Ohio has similar limits for state offices.

Because we think government works best when it periodically gets a new face and a new direction, we endorse Waldo as our choice for the Ironton Municipal Court judge position.

Waldo's experience in Ironton's legal community gives him a unique position - of what it's like to be on the front side of the bench.

That knowledge, his demeanor and fresh vision on the office should go a long way toward making the office more progressive and more accessible for members of the community.

Regardless of which candidate you feel is the right choice, please exercise your right to vote on Tuesday and go to the polls.