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Editorial: Two good choices for superior court judge

October 27, 2016

As is typically the case in Kittitas County judicial races, both candidates seeking the Kittitas County Superior Court judge position, Candace Hooper and Chris Herion, are well qualified.

They’ve both displayed a high degree of professionalism throughout their legal careers, are respected within the legal community and have shown a commitment to their community.

The bottom line is voters cannot go wrong with either candidate. But in this situation, voters should not pass up the opportunity to elect Hooper to this position.

The Daily Record editorial board historically has not endorsed in judicial races. These are not classically political races. Judicial candidates do not campaign on how they will rule on an issue or a crime. The candidates cannot be seen as showing a political bias, at least not one that would unjustly influence decisions.

So voters are left with reviewing the candidate’s careers, listening to them talk about judicial philosophies and trying to get a feel for the candidate’s character. One question that is good to ask yourself is: “Who would I want on the bench if I were part of the court proceedings either as a victim or a defendant?”

These are subjective methods of evaluation. People are going to bring their own experiences into making this determination.

With Hooper, voters can look at her 30-year career with the Kittitas County Prosecutor’s Office, working the full range of cases that office prosecutes. She has spent her career working to hold people accountable for crimes committed, but she’s also displayed compassion for people who find themselves in the legal system. She worked to establish the Drug Court, which strives to address the addictions that lead people into committing the crimes that cause them to end up in jail.

To be fair, both Hooper and Herion, are strong proponents of Drug Court.

If you ever had the chance to see Herion in courtroom action when he worked for the Kittitas County Prosecutor’s Office you know he was extremely good at the job. He is also currently serving the community well as an Ellensburg City Council member. In no way is the endorsement of Hooper intended as a knock on Herion, because he is an impressive candidate in his own right.

If you talk to both Hooper and Herion you will come away impressed by their thoughtfulness and intellect. Obviously, there’s no hard science behind this evaluation.

Four years ago voters chose between two very qualified candidates to elect Fran Chmelewski as Superior Court judge. Unfortunately health issues led to decide to not seek reelection. This fall we find ourselves in a similar situation. These are two good choices, but the community would benefit if Hooper moves from the prosecutor’s office to the superior court bench.

The Daily Record Editorial board is made up of Editor Joanna Markell, Assistant Editor Michael Gallagher and community board members Gayl Curtiss, Andrew Caveness and Jerry Brong. The endorsement process involved each candidate meeting with the Daily Record editorial board for a half hour to answer questions and discuss issues.