By CARL GREEN
Edwardsville, IL – It can be tough running for circuit judge. You can’t promise to build a bridge, cut taxes or do any of the other things most elected officials do.
You can’t say how you would rule on an issue, either, other than to apply the law. But judicial races are held all the time and their results make a big difference.
Two Democratic candidates for circuit judge in Madison County have been telling labor councils that while judicial elections are sometimes overlooked, their importance cannot be overstated.
Associate Judge Sarah Smith is running for the 3rd Judicial Circuit seat left vacant by the retirement of Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder. She has been an associate judge since 2015.
In visits to the Greater Madison County Federation of Labor and the Southwestern Illinois Building and Construction Trades Council, Smith said there are cases when the laws are not clear and leave room for judges to use their judgment in applying the law, and that’s why judicial contests are more important than many people believe.
“There are many cases that come before you where the law is not clear, and that is when judges must use their judgment in applying the law,” she said.
“What kind of judge do you want hearing those support cases, whether it be workmen’s’ compensation, personal injury or family cases? When you’ve got a dad who is out of work because the steel mill is shut down, what kind of judge do you want to have?”
She added, “Who would you want hearing those cases but somebody who shares those same beliefs that you do?”
Smith noted that her father is retired from IBEW Local 309 and her brother works as a lineman and has helped with hurricane damage in Florida and Texas.
A SOLID RESUME
Smith has presided over child support, domestic violence, divorce and other family cases. She is a lieutenant colonel in the Army National Guard, was awarded the Bronze Star and is Illinois’ only military judge. She has worked as a prosecutor, handling many sexual assault cases, and was with Ezra & Associates for 10 years, practicing plaintiff’s civil litigation. She and her husband have three young sons. Her brother is a lineman out of IBEW Local 2, St. Louis.
She thanked Dale Stewart, executive secretary-treasurer of the Trades Council, for being a valuable advisor. “He has been an absolute true, trusted source for me,” she said. “He has been such a great person to go to for advice.”
Meanwhile, Marc Parker, a Maryville attorney, is running for the Democratic nomination to fill the vacancy created by the election of Circuit Judge John Barberis to the appellate court.
Parker told the Federation that his 25-year legal career has been all about helping working people.
“Nothing but working folks,” he said. “I don’t switch off – one day the working folks and the next day the insurance company – and I’m proud of that.
“I want you to know that I’m not going to forget what I’ve done, where I’ve been and where I’ve come from. So, I’d appreciate everything you can do for me. Talk to your friends – and vote!”
Parker has worked as a personal injury lawyer for 25 years and has been a prosecutor in both St. Clair and Madison counties.