Editor’s Note: As we approach the November General Election, the Gallipolis Daily Tribune and The Daily Sentinel will be running articles allowing the candidates in contested races to introduce themselves and tell the voters why they are running for office. Each candidate is asked, in their own words, to respond to two questions — tell us about yourself and why are you running for this office.
OHIO VALLEY — Voters will be deciding on two seats on the Fourth District Court of Appeals on election day, including the race with Stacy M. Brooks facing off against Kristy S. Wilkin. The second seat has incumbent Judge Peter Abele running unopposed.
The Fourth District includes: Adams, Athens, Gallia, Highland, Hocking, Jackson, Lawrence, Meigs, Pickaway, Pike, Ross, Scioto, Vinton, and Washington.
Both candidates are running for the unexpired term of Judge Matthew McFarland which ends on Feb. 8, 2023. Wilkin was appointed to the seat earlier this year. Candidates, along with their responses submitted to Ohio Valley Publishing, are listed below in alphabetical order.
Stacy M. Brooks
Tell us about yourself:
I have been a litigator in the 4th District for over 14 years — representing families, small businesses, local governments, veterans, seniors, and children. I am a graduate of Xavier University and I have a Master’s Degree from the College of Charleston, S.C. My law degree is from Vermont Law School, where I taught legal writing as a Dean’s Fellow, clerked at the Vermont Attorney General’s office, and worked at the South Royalton Legal Clinic.
I began my legal career as an attorney with Southeastern Ohio Legal Services, where I learned to use litigation as well as community organizing and legislative tools to advocate for my clients. I served as the President of the National Organization for Legal Service Workers (NOLSW-UAW Local 2320), and have been endorsed by the Ohio AFL-CIO, the UAW Region-2B, IBEW Local 575, OAPSE/AFSCME Local 4, OCSEA/AFSCME Local 11, the Painters District Council No. 6, as well as local and state-wide leaders, including Senator Sherrod Brown. I am certified as an Advanced Family Conflict Mediator and I am the Solicitor for the Village of Beaver. I currently practice in a small family firm in Waverly, Ohio.
I met my husband, Luke Feeney, who is the Mayor of Chillicothe, when we began working together at Legal Aid. We have two children (Colin is 4; Marin is 2) who attend preschool at the Ross County YMCA. We love and serve our community — I’ve been my church council president and held leadership roles with many non-profit boards and committees.
Why I decided to run for this office?
I’m in this race because I want to make a difference, and because I will bring a unique perspective to the Court. I have a deep commitment to public service and a great respect for the law. As judge, I will fight to ensure the 4th District Court is compassionate and fair, independent and free from politics. At law school graduation, I received the Maximilian W. Kempner Award, which is given to the student who best exemplifies the highest standards of competence, integrity, respect, fair-mindedness and public service. Those are the qualities we should look for in a judge, and now more than ever, we have a duty to ensure those we elect are ready to uphold the integrity of their office.
I work hard at my job, but I also work hard for my community. It’s one thing to say you want to help people; it’s another thing to do it, to have a record of doing it, and truly having it in your heart. My time at legal aid was about being a voice for the voiceless and giving names and stories to the unseen. I have been a guardian ad litem, representing children in abuse, custody, and divorce proceedings. I currently volunteer with legal aid clinics all over the 4th District. I offer pro bono representation to non-profits, and I serve clients through the Ohio Attorney General’s Victim of Crime program. I’ve been a volunteer attorney mentor. I’ve been a labor leader. I am on the Ross County YMCA board and volunteer with other local non-profits as well as my church council.
My experiences, background, and work ethic demonstrate my values and commitments better than any political promise could. I look forward to serving the people in the 4th District and respectfully request your vote.
Kristy S. Wilkin
Tell us about yourself:
Judge Kristy S. Wilkin was appointed to the 4th District Court of Appeals by Governor Mike DeWine on July 24, 2020. Prior to serving on the Court of Appeals, Judge Wilkin was a partner with Peelle Law Offices Co., LPA, where she worked for the last 14 years. She served as an adjunct professor at Southern State Community College and held a judicial externship in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. She is also a graduate of the Jo Ann Davidson Leadership Institute, an esteemed leadership development program.
Judge Wilkin graduated cum laude from Xavier University with a degree in Accounting and graduated in the top 10 percent of her class at the Ohio Northern University Law School. Wilkin also served as the associate editor of the Law Review.
Judge Wilkin resides on a small farm in Highland County, Ohio, with her husband Shane Wilkin and her two daughters, Piper (10) and Parker (9).
Judge Wilkin has been endorsed by the following: Congressman Bill Johnson; Congressman Brad Wenstrup; Congressman Steve Stivers; US Senator Rob Portman; State Senator Bob Peterson; State Senator Frank Hoagland; State Rep. Brian Baldridge; State Rep. Jason Stephens; State Rep. Jay Edwards; State Rep. Don Jones; State Rep. Gary Scherer; Candidate for State Rep. Mark Johnson; Ross County Sheriff George W. Lavender; Highland County Sheriff Donnie Barrera; Washington County Sheriff Larry R. Mincks, Sr.; Gallia County Sheriff Matt Champlin; Scioto County Republican Central Committee; Scioto County Young Republicans.
Why I decided to run for this office?
Judge Wilkin knows how important it is to keep a conservative voice on the 4th District Court of Appeals. She believes in our Constitution and will protect your First and Second Amendment Rights. Judge Wilkin will not legislate from the bench but will apply the law as written. Judge Wilkin wants to protect the future for not only her two little girls but for all the young men and women in the 4th District.
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