ELECTION: District Judge candidate profiles

2022 Election Coverage
2022 Election Coverage(KSWO)
Published: Oct. 31, 2022 at 11:06 AM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - 7News continues our pre-election coverage with profiles from District Judge candidates.

Due to time and personnel constraints, we were unable to interview all of the candidates in person. Any candidates unable to interview in person were given identical questions and submitted their answers in writing.

Below are the answers we received.

JUDICIAL RETENTION - DIGITAL

DISTRICT JUDGE - DISTRICT 5, OFFICE 2

G. Brent Russell is running for District Judge for District 5, Office 2.
G. Brent Russell is running for District Judge for District 5, Office 2.(KSWO)

G. BRENT RUSSELL

What made you decide to run for office?

When I went to law school I had an idea that I wanted to be a judge. I practiced law in private practice for 13 years and then in the DA’s office for 8, but all of that was kind of geared towards giving me the experience I knew that I would need to be a judge. I just thought it was an honorable profession. So, I thought when I went to law school, that’s what I want to be.

What is your background? What makes you qualified?

I was born and raised here in Duncan. I have lived in Stephens County all of my life, except for when I was at school at Oklahoma State University and the OU College of Law. I have been in private practice for 13 years, broken up by an 8-year term in the District Attorney’s office as Assistant District Attorney and lead Felony Prosecutor. I have served in Stephens County as Associate District Judge for nearly 17 years. I was appointed in 2006 by Governor Brad Henry. I have served unopposed in that position for all this time. Which I think, at least I take it as, an indication that the Stephens County Bar Association has put a lot of trust and confidence in me without putting up another opponent to run against me during that time. Those are my qualifications, I think that I have the right temperament and demeanor for the bench. I’ve worked very hard to keep a calm demeanor in the courtroom. I don’t think that any attorney can say that I have ever embarrassed them in front of a client, by calling them down, or anything. I think I have treated all the litigants in the courtroom fairly and made my decision only on the law and the facts that are presented. I’m familiar, obviously, with Stephens County and the workings of the courthouse here. I think I have a solid grasp of evidentiary law and that allows me to make quick decisions which are needed in the courtroom. And, I think that I have worked hard to reestablish trust in the Comanche County Bar Association with the Stephens County Courthouse. There have been problems in the past that I think we have rectified and brought the Comanche County Bar back over to Stephens County to make them feel welcome to practice here as well.

What sets you apart from the other candidates?

I’m a lifetime resident of this part of the state, my opponent was primarily born and raised in an area away from here, in Central Oklahoma, he lived most of his life, as I understand it, in Oklahoma County in the Oklahoma City area. I have had over 13 years in private practice. I don’t know that he’s ever been in private practice at all. I think that every bit of his experience, as I understand it, in law has been devoted to criminal law, first as part of the Oklahoma Indigent Defense system and recently as Assistant District Attorney. The job of district judge entails much more than just criminal law. You need to have a diverse background. You need to have had experience in all areas of the law, civil cases, domestic cases, things of that nature, that, quite frankly, I don’t think he’s had any experience in those areas.

Background Information

I graduated from Duncan High School in ‘77. I think I did well as a student and an athlete. While I was at Oklahoma State University, I was an invited walk-on on the OSU wrestling team for a couple of years until an injury ended my career.

I have a wife of 40 years, two sons, two daughters-in-law, that are just absolute blessings, and then three granddaughters.

I love the outdoors. I love to hunt and fish. I love to play golf. I was a high school football official for 24 years and a college football official for 8 years. The type of demeanor and temperament that you need for that coincides with what you have to have on the bench. You have to be able to maintain calm when everything else may be erupting outside your area. I went into that and I loved it and would still be doing it today if my knees would let me.

I have handled everything from domestic cases to extensive civil cases to death penalty cases, and I think my experience would help me to serve very well if I’m elected to the district position. I have a very strong working relationship with the judges in Comanche County and Cotton County and Jefferson County as well. There is a pretty tight bond there, and I think I would benefit them and they would benefit me if I’m elected judge as well.

Bobby Lewis is running for District Judge for District 5, Office 2.
Bobby Lewis is running for District Judge for District 5, Office 2.(KSWO)

BOBBY LEWIS

What made you decide to run for office?

I am not a politician, nor do I have any desire to be one. I am a lifelong public servant and I love my job working as a prosecutor in Comanche County. The answer to the question of why I chose to run is simple: I filed to run for judge so that the voters would have a choice. Had I not filed to run, a judge would have been appointed. The health of a democracy depends upon the willingness of its citizens to serve in government. I am willing and looking forward to serving our community if called upon.

What is your background? What makes you qualified?

I grew up without the advantages of wealth. My parents were divorced when I was very young, and I lived with a single mother. We moved a lot. Between the ages of 5 and 16, I can count at least ten different rental houses we lived in. It was not uncommon for me to get off the school bus and see a cutoff notice on our front door. From the tenth to twelfth grade, I was a grill/fry cook at the Sonic in Paul’s Valley. After I graduated from Wynnewood High School, I went to OU for undergraduate and law school. While in school at OU, I worked as a construction worker, as a custodian at the student union, and on an assembly line filling shampoo bottles.

After law school, I spent almost 15 years working for the state public defender’s office. I represented folks accused of everything from shoplifting to murder. As a defense lawyer, I wrote successful felony appeals and represented indigent clients in courtrooms all across the state.

In 2019, I began working for the D.A.’s office in Stephens County. I bought a house in Duncan. I worked in Duncan until April of this year when I was fired after I announced I was running for the open Stephens County District Judge position. I was told that I could run for the associate judge spot, and still keep my job, but if I ran for the district judge spot I would be fired. I took the firing so that voters could choose their own district judge.

My years of experience in appellate practice and the courtroom have left me uniquely suited for the job of a district judge.

What sets you apart from the other candidates?

You will not see any election signs with my name on them as you drive down the road. Those things cost a lot of money. You should ask, “Who is paying for these signs?” Personally, I do not think judicial candidates ought to accept money from Oklahoma City lawyers and potential litigants in our community. A gift creates an obligation and the only thing I want to be obligated to be the fair administration of the law. So, I will not take a dime from anyone in support of my campaign.

If you want an independent judge who is beholden to nobody, I am willing to take the job. If you know any courthouse staff from Stephens County, Comanche County, Jefferson County, or Cotton County, ask about me. Ask any law enforcement officer in those counties about me. I am a hard worker with a reputation for fairness and honesty. As a judge, I will be working the same hours as everybody else in the courthouse and I do not play golf.

DISTRICT JUDGE - DISTRICT 5, OFFICE 3

Neil West is running for District Judge for District 5, Office 3.
Neil West is running for District Judge for District 5, Office 3.(KSWO)

NEIL WEST

What made you decide to run for office?

I’ve always been a public servant at heart. I’ve had some success with being a prosecutor, as well as a defense attorney. And when I saw an open seat, I thought that it was a great opportunity to further serve the community.

What is your background and what makes you qualified?

My degree is in government from New Mexico State University. I received my degree in 1991. With a supplemental degree in law, society, and morality, with some social work issues in my background. My minor was in economics. I had a background in retail, with Dillard’s department stores, and got brought up through the buying office and their systems as an executive trainee. So, that was a pretty cool business experience and then I went to OCU Law School, graduated in 1997, right up the road from my city, and came down here to be closer to my brother and his family. And, I pretty much hit the ground running. I started out as a public defender under contract and did a lot of work with children on the court-appointed lists, and after about a year and a half, I broke out on my own and did well in private practice for many, many years. I did a lot of contract labor for the city of Lawton, as well as the state of Oklahoma, both prosecuting for the city of Lawton, as well as defending criminal defendants for the state of Oklahoma. In 2007, I went to work full-time for the city of Lawton as their full-time City prosecutor. And, I did that for seven and a half years. I had anywhere between 22 and 27,000 cases a year. Anything from traffic tickets to domestic abuse and drug possession charges, and everything in between in the process. I felt like I did some good work with them. I got the call to go to the DA’s office in 2014, and I started in 2015. I served as the head of the juvenile division of the DA’s office. So, I was there for four years. And while I was there, I headed up the mental health court. So, my experience was working with DHS for neglected and abused children to try to reunite children with their families, as possible. It wasn’t always possible to do that. I also had mental health courts, and we took in criminal defendants as well, that were charged, and those who had a mental illness. We tried to set them on a path of recovery, education, training, and even drug therapy, as needed. And for lack of a better word, I served as their probation officer. That wasn’t my official title, but I met with them regularly. They came in, they reported, and we did drug a test. We made sure they weren’t on the bad drugs and they were on the prescription drugs, that were prescribed for them, to help with their mental illness. So, that was very, very rewarding. I went into private practice for a little bit as well and did a decent amount of family law. I also had contracts with the state to be a public defender on the criminal defense side as well. But then COVID hit, and I received a call from the state saying please come work for us full-time. So, I thought about it long and hard. And, again, private practice was fine, and you know, there’s decent money to be made but that’s not where my heart was. I actually have a couple of job opportunities, one to go back into a DA’s office in the southwest corner of the state or to be a public defender and I decided to be a public defender. I saw a lot of things that were happening to criminal defendants that were not right. They were not just. They were not fair. So, I felt passionate about being able to help defend their rights.

I’ve been at that since the middle of 2020. I get to defend the Constitution, and it’s what I love to do. One of the things that I’m seeing is that we have a lot of great programs here in southwest Oklahoma. In the counties where I’m running for judge, we have Drug court, we have Mental Health court, and we have community sentencing. Not all judges are committed to these programs, but I am. But in addition to that, I think that we can go even a step further, there are some programs out there, and there are rehab facilities and halfway houses that I think are underutilized. And for those low-level offenders or first-time offenders, that maybe wouldn’t otherwise qualify for a program like a Drug court, maybe because of financial reasons. I think that we should be opening a few opportunities for some of those programs, like a halfway house for six months or a year. I’ve had a lot of success with that out in District Three, where I do my practicing right now. I think that we need to keep an open mind about those things. What it comes down to is that we have an open seat, you know, there’s nobody in it right now. I’ve got 25 years of experience in a very unique and diverse background. I feel like I have an even temper; at the end of the day, you know, I can process hundreds of cases. But cases are our people and I believe that people need to have a judge who is fair, balanced, intelligent, has integrity, and honesty, and I believe that I bring that to the table. For me, this is a great way to show the community that I love, which has been so good to me, that I will be good to them.

What sets you apart from your other candidate?

My unique background. Again, I have 25 years of experience, and I have a lot of experience with juveniles and protecting them as well. But I’ve been both a prosecutor and a defense attorney. I think that’s very unique as well. But I also believe that I have a sense of balance and fairness about myself. I treat people as people, and I think maybe that sets me apart.

Is there anything else that you would like to add?

You know, the people have been very good to me. When I started this campaign back in April and didn’t have a lot of money to run on it. So, you know, pretty much took every amount of savings that we had to launch this thing. We started out with a few postcards and literally started knocking on doors. The people have been wonderful. They told me their stories. I listened. They prayed over me. They offered me Gatorade. We were knocking on doors, you know, 100 doors a day easily, sometimes three and 400 on weekends and in 113-degree weather and we’re still doing it. People have offered to walk with me. The experience has been absolutely humbling and I will just never forget that.

Jay Walker is running for District Judge for District 5, Office 3.
Jay Walker is running for District Judge for District 5, Office 3.(KSWO)

JAY WALKER

What made you decide to run for office?

What made me decide to run for office? Well, our courthouse needs help. We have a backlog of criminal cases, to the extent that we’ve exceeded the capacity of the county jail. We’re spending $30,000 a month to house prisoners in the Tillman county jail, which ends up costing the taxpayers over $300,000 a year to rent jail space in Tillman County. We need a judge and a judicial system that will move cases. When we have a jury docket, we need to get the guys to trial, we need to get our jails empty and get them to DOC or get them back on the street. Whatever happens at trial. So first of all, on the criminal side of the case, we need to get the caseload moving. On the civil side of the case, we have much of the same problem. For example, in domestic cases, if you have a young woman who has two small children, no job, and a stay-at-home mom and dad leaves, she has no way to get to the court in an expedient way. The law used to be that you’d get a hearing within 20 days, and you get a temporary order where you get temporary child support and maybe make provisions for the mother and the children. Now, with our current system, if the woman files for divorce and asks for help from the court. She may have to wait 60 - 90 days to get to the court. And the question becomes what happens to the family during those 60 - 90 days? What happens to her car payments? What happens to the food for the kids? What happens to the mortgage payment? Well, the answer is nothing because the courts are not moving fast enough. We need courts to run like a business, and to run a business you have to be efficient. If we ran our private practices like we run the courthouse, the courthouse would go broke. Justice delayed is justice denied. We need to get things moving at the courthouse and to get things moving. It starts at the top with the judges. The judges have their finger on the trigger and they can make things move fast, or they can make things move slow. Right now., we’re in extra slow mode. I’m going to pick things up and things are going to be run efficiently and things aren’t going to be put off indefinitely because things need to be heard. People want to have their cases heard and I’m going to make sure that happens.

What is your background and what makes you qualified?

Okay, they’re going to think they’re both the same, but I’ll address them separately. My background is I’m born in Lawton, Oklahoma, and went to grade school, junior high, high school, and eventually the Cameron Agricultural College before attending OU Law School. As far as my educational background, I began practicing law in 1981 at a district attorney’s office in Grady County. I moved from Assistant District Attorney in Grady County to the Comanche County Courthouse and was the Assistant District Attorney there. Then when the bar results came in, in October of 1982, I resigned from my position and opened up a private practice. I was in private practice from 1982 until 2014 when I bought this office here in 1986. So, I’ve been across the street from the courthouse here for over 35 years. In 2014, I took a two-year sabbatical from private practice because I was diagnosed with cancer; had a stem cell transplant. During those two years, I moved back to the district attorney’s office and became assistant district attorney and prosecuted criminals. As far as my experience in the legal field. I’ve tried four capital murder cases, and I’ve tried a dozen other murder cases or homicides. I’ve tried every kind of case that a district judge can try, including personal injury cases, medical malpractice cases, condemnation cases, you name it. As far as what a district judge does, I’ve been doing it for 41 years. So, as far as my qualifications, I do everything. My practice is in front of the district judges, and not in front of a municipal court judge or juvenile court judge. So the reasons I’m running, or I’m going to try before I end my career, I’m going to try to help give back to the community. I want to give back what the community has given to me because I’ve had 41 great years here in this community. I want to give something back to them and I want to do that by trying to make the judicial system in Comanche County and this Judicial District more efficient.

What sets you apart from the other candidate?

First of all, I’ve got 41 years of experience doing what a district judge does on a daily basis. What sets me apart is like night and day from Mr. Neal, his experiences are with the city attorney’s office, where he was the Municipal Court prosecutor. The Municipal Court prosecutor is a traffic court. When he got released from that job and went to the district attorney’s office here in Comanche County he was the juvenile court attorney, and then he got fired from the district attorney’s office here in Comanche County. So what sets me apart from Mr. Neal, is the job I’m asking the voters to elect me for I’ve been doing it for 41 years. Mr. Neal has not done it. He’s either been in traffic court or juvenile court; he has no experience whatsoever. I’ve tried more cases, probably than any judge, or any lawyer in Comanche County, as far as divorces, and civil jury trials. So comparing me to Mr. Neal is like apples and oranges. He has no experience with what he’s asking to be voted in to do, and I have 41 years of experience doing it.

If you’re going to run for a judicial spot in this Judicial District, you ought to practice in this Judicial District. Mr. Neal hasn’t practiced in Comanche County since 2020. After he got fired from the Comanche County District Attorney’s office, he took a job in Jackson County, which is not even in this judicial district. So he hasn’t even been involved in this Judicial District since 2020.

Oh, another thing that sets me apart too I guess, if you want to talk about the difference between him and me, is that he needs the job. I don’t. He’s out asking for money from lawyers who are going to appear in front of him. I don’t take any money from anybody to run my campaign. A good analogy is if you were a litigant, and you knew that your attorney had not given money to Mr. Neal, but the other side’s attorney had given Mr. Neal money to get his spot. Would you feel like you’re gonna get a fair shake in front of you? I’d say nine-tenths of people will say, No, I don’t want that to happen. But that’s happening. I don’t think judicial candidates should be taking money from anybody, much less lawyers who practice in front of him, and he’s doing that. So you really can’t even compare Mr. Neal and me, we’re in different universes.

Is there anything else that you’d like to add?

Neil’s a nice guy. He doesn’t need to be a district judge. He doesn’t have the experience, and what we need over there is somebody who can be a leader and has the experience to be a leader.

DISTRICT JUDGE - DISTRICT 5, OFFICE 4

Scott Meaders is running for District Judge for District 5, Office 4.
Scott Meaders is running for District Judge for District 5, Office 4.(KSWO)

SCOTT MEADERS

What made you decide to run for office?

I was appointed as District Judge, Office 4 in 2017 to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Mark Smith. I applied for the position through the Oklahoma Judicial Nominating Commission, which included an extensive background investigation, and ultimately an interview with the governor who selected me over 2 other candidates. It has been an absolute honor to serve as district judge these past 5 years.

I’m seeking re-election because litigants in Southwest Oklahoma deserve a thoughtful, caring judge who will listen to both sides of a dispute, apply the law correctly, and decide the case impartially. I get to work early and stay late in order to thoroughly review each case before it is presented. That’s the way it should be. That should be the expectation for all judges. The decisions judges make have a tremendous impact on people’s lives. People deserve a judge who understands this and will focus on their case with thoughtful consideration. I am that kind of judge. I have the experience and demonstrated work ethic needed to continue serving the people of Southwest Oklahoma fairly and effectively.

What is your background? What makes you qualified?

I have 26 years of legal experience and 5 years serving as a district judge. I began my career representing clients in private practice. In 1999 I was hired as an Assistant District Attorney for Comanche County prosecuting criminal cases. In 2005 I applied for and was selected as an Assistant City Attorney for the City of Lawton where I initiated and defended civil cases until 2017 when I was appointed to the bench. My work history shows that I have extensive experience in both criminal and civil litigation both as a lawyer and now as a judge. I know what it takes to manage a docket efficiently, and my record on appeal shows that I know what I’m doing and that I am doing it well.

What sets you apart from the other candidates?

Experience. Not just legal experience as a lawyer, but also 5 years of actually serving as a district judge. A district judge’s docket consists primarily of large civil cases, felony criminal cases, and cases involving family law and probate. That requires the judge to have a broad range of legal knowledge in each of those areas. My time on the bench shows I have the skill set to effectively handle cases in each of those areas.

Something else that distinguishes me is my 22 years of service in the U.S. Army Reserve. I have served as a judge advocate with 2 mobilizations and 1 deployment to Iraq where I earned a bronze star for my service. I now hold the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and am currently assigned as a military judge. My knowledge of Army operations and procedures has proven very helpful during my time on the bench. We have a lot of cases that come before the court that involve military personnel and retirees, and it is beneficial to have a local judge with military experience deciding those cases.

Brad Cox is running for District Judge for District 5, Office 4.
Brad Cox is running for District Judge for District 5, Office 4.(KSWO)

BRAD COX

What made you decide to run for office?

Well, I have a tremendous amount of legal experience. I have been practicing law, for going on forty years now. As a matter of fact, today Oct. 18th is the 38th anniversary of my being a lawyer. I was sworn into the Oklahoma Bar association 38 years ago today. I have a tremendous amount of experience. I am very qualified. I’ve handled all types of cases, protective orders, small claims cases, bankruptcies, divorces, child custody cases, workers’ compensation cases, personal injury cases, car wrecks, contract disputes, a veritable plethora, a smorgasbord of civil cases and a tremendous amount of criminal cases, everything from speeding tickets to first-degree murder trials and everything in between. It’s kind of like, if you name it I have probably done it. I have practiced in State Court here in the state of Oklahoma, I believe in maybe 25 of 77 Oklahoma counties. I’ve tried jury trials in, I think, at least a dozen of our counties. I’ve tried cases in federal court, here in the Western District of Oklahoma. I’ve had the bulk of the caseload, the majority of the cases, in the Municipal Court for the City of Lawton for at least two decades now. Practiced in Municipal Court in the surrounding communities, Cache, Geronimo, Elgin, Apache, Sterling, Medicine Park and the list goes on. I’ve practiced in Worker’s Compensation Court, Bankruptcy Court, and our Oklahoma Appellate courts. I feel that after going on 40 years of doing this that it’s time for me to give my experience back to the people of the community, the people of District 5. I believe that the Lord has decided it’s time for me to do this.

What is your background? What makes you qualified?

My background is that I was born here in Lawton, Oklahoma at Comanche County Memorial Hospital, just right down the street. I went to Lawton Public Schools from the first grade to the 12th grade. I graduate here in Lawton from Cameron University. I graduated from the University of Oklahoma, College of Law. My mother, Glen Cox, was from here, she was a teacher and administrator in the Lawton Public School system for almost 40 years. My father, Alton Cox, was from here, was in the Army Reserves, was a Rodeo calf-roper, drove race cars, and was my hero. He taught me how to fight for what’s important in life. I have raised two daughters and a son, right here in southwest Oklahoma, two of them I raised on my own, as a single parent with sole custody. That is my background. I think I have the right temperament to be a district judge because I’m compassionate and understanding. I have patience. I have a strong reputation for fairness and integrity and honesty. I’m always prepared for my cases. I’m always on time for court. I’ll make sure that justice is done and the laws are followed. I believe in due process of law for all the parties involved in litigation. I believe in the United States Constitution and the statutes in the Constitution of the state of Oklahoma. I am trusted by my clients, by other attorneys, and by judges.

What sets you apart from the other candidates?

I’m an extremely hard worker. I’ve worked hard for my clients through all these years. I work at least 14 hours a day. I always do the right thing. I’m a good listener. I like to listen more than I like to talk. I’m a good researcher and I have a calm demeanor, an even temperament, and a lot of patience.

ASSOCIATE DISTRICT JUDGE - STEPHENS COUNTY

Anthony Sykes is running for Associate District Judge in Stephens County.
Anthony Sykes is running for Associate District Judge in Stephens County.(KSWO)

ANTHONY SYKES

What made you decide to run for office?

The Associate District Judge is faced with tough decisions that affect the most precious aspects of people’s lives. Making the right decision in a divorce and child custody situation, a juvenile case where a child’s safety and parental rights are at stake or probate decisions regarding a loved one’s estate are just a few examples. I can remember when a judge decided my custody during my parent’s divorce and that decision had a major impact on my life. Representing abused and neglected children gave me a perspective on those who are most vulnerable.

What is your background? What makes you qualified?

My experience as an enlisted Airman and later as a JAG officer taught me the discipline necessary to put service before self. It has been a great honor that many of the people I served with have chosen me to represent them in their family law and estate planning needs. I am a longtime member of American Legion Post 258 in Comanche.

As an attorney, my clients have ranged from children who are subjected to the courts through no fault of their own to corporations that employ many people. I have jury trial experience in civil, criminal and juvenile law and have provided representation to both Plaintiffs and Defendants. As an award-winning and published attorney, I have been lead counsel in precedent-setting cases featured in local and national media, as well as represented foster parents who are trying to provide a home for abused and neglected children. My most recent published decision protected Stephens County’s largest employer, Duncan Regional Hospital, and stopped the unlawful spending of two billion dollars of taxpayer money. I have served as the municipal judge for the town of Velma for the past three years.

It was an honor to serve the people of Stephens County in the State Senate. From authoring the state question that made English the official language of Oklahoma (approved by Stephens County voters with 82% in favor) to ensuring that Stephens County residents had continuing water service during a natural disaster, service was always a pleasure. I authored and supported many pro-life bills, spearheaded the repeal of common core and earned an A+ rating from the NRA.

The Sykes family attends Impact580 Church. My wife is a nurse at Duncan Regional Hospital and our daughter attends Duncan Public Schools. I serve on the boards of the Charis pregnancy center and the Stephens County Genealogical Society. If you have any questions about my campaign, please contact me at (405) 473-5430 or senatorsykes@yahoo.com

What sets you apart from other candidates?

It is time for new leadership at the Stephens County Courthouse. My service in the military, experiences as an attorney and accomplishments in the State Senate have prepared me to be the next Associate District Judge of Stephens County.

Lawrence M. Wheeler is running for Associate District Judge in Stephens County.
Lawrence M. Wheeler is running for Associate District Judge in Stephens County.(KSWO)

LAWRENCE M. WHEELER

What made you decide to run for office?

Running for this office is important to me because I believe I can have a positive impact on the families of Stephens County. I see every day in the courtroom as I represent children, parents, and grandparents, the challenges that impact these people. Being our Associate Judge is important to me because it is the Family Judge position for Stephens County. The decisions made daily from that bench directly impact our community. This position handles every family-related matter in the county, including every case involving the Department of Human Services (DHS) and Adult Protective Services (APS). Through legal representation and the time I spend volunteering with family-focused organizations, including Beautiful Day, and Gabriel’s House, and helping run Kiddieland through Kiwanis, I have a familiarity with Stephens County families. Family Law has been the primary area of my legal practice for the last eleven years. A judge with Family Law experience and familiarity with today’s families is critical to justice for all. As an attorney, I see daily this important role and I understand its great responsibility. I decided to run for office because I have a strong belief that this position has the ability to impact so many Stephens County lives.

What is your background? What makes you qualified?

At an early age, I learned the importance of service to others through church activities and my time with the Boy Scouts of America where I ultimately reached the rank of Eagle Scout. I was involved in community projects throughout my high school and college career. I attended the University of Oklahoma for my master’s degree in business administration as well as my law degree. My wife and I knew that we wanted to raise our children in a smaller community. We looked all across the state and decided that Stephens County would be our forever home. I was offered a position with John Stuart and David Hammond and I have been here ever since.

The qualifications for our Associate Judge should be that they have an understanding and desire to make a positive impact on families. It is critical they be experienced in the specialized field of family law. Serving families and children is the focus of both my career and my volunteering. I have represented some of our most vulnerable citizens and accepted court appointments to over 100 DHS and APS cases in Stephens County - which makes up a significant portion of the Family Law docket. I have provided competent representation and advocated for my clients as we navigated adoptions, changes in child custody, divorces, and other family law matters. I understand how every ruling from the Associate Judge’s bench will have a life-altering impact on a person and I humbly respect that responsibility.

What sets you apart from the other candidates?

I have focused the bulk of my career on family law issues. I am only one of four attorneys in the county who currently accept court-appointed DHS and APS cases. I know how it feels to represent a Stephens County resident on what is possibly the best or worst day of their life depending on the legal outcome of a case. I will use that experience to compassionately make rulings from the bench. I have a strong working relationship and respect for Stephens County attorneys. My experiences with family law will allow me to bring practical knowledge and offer citizens timely judicial rulings. My wife and I bought our first home in Stephens County over a decade ago and have lived here ever since. Both of our children were born in our local hospital and both attend Duncan Public Schools. Stephens County is our forever home. The children that will go through the court are classmates or teammates of my own children. I understand that a critical element of a strong future begins with a stable childhood. I serve on the board of Gabriel’s House, I celebrate birthdays with Beautiful Day, and I help operate the carousel at Kiddieland because I know that happiness in childhood and the success of a family are critical to the success of our community. My decade of family law practice makes me the most qualified candidate to be Stephens County’s next Associate District Judge.