Ringing in the 2017 political season

By on February 1, 2017
District Judge Ed Tobin, arriving at the Warwick Area Republican Committee winter dinner at the General Sutter Inn Friday night, is running for a second  six-year term.

District Judge Ed Tobin, arriving at the Warwick Area Republican Committee winter dinner at the General Sutter Inn Friday night, is running for a second six-year term.

The Warwick Area Republican Committee opened a new political season at the General Sutter Inn Friday night, holding its annual winter dinner.

The event, typically held the third Friday of the year, was pushed back two weeks due to a conflict with the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump.

“The Warwick Area Republican Dinner is the unofficial kick off the political season in Lancaster County,” said Nelson Peters, committee member.

Local leaders attending the packed event included Lititz Mayor Tim Snyder, WARC Chairman Andy Spade, Rep. Steve Mentzer, and Sen. Ryan Aument.

The occasion was unusual in that it featured several current judges, judge candidates, and Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman, who is seeking one of the statewide judicial seats available.

Lititz resident and attorney Jeff Conrad was there. Seeking the seat of Lancaster County Common Pleas Court Judge Leslie Gorbey, Conrad faces off with JoAnn Murphy as the top straw poll candidates for this open spot.

Ed Tobin, who is seeking his second term as district judge in Lititz, was also on hand.

“I’m privileged to serve the residents of my districts,” he said. “It’s always been my focus to provide a local court that provides fair and equitable resolutions to their issues.”

Tobin appears confident on the bench seat he’s held since winning his first six-year term in 2011.

“I strive to keep my community safe, and I want ensure the quality of life of the residents that I serve,” Tobin said.

Tobin, who was a police officer in Warwick Township for nearly three decades before donning the magisterial robes at 690 Furnace Hills Pike, compared what life was like in front and behind the bench.

“I always tell people that for 27 years I told the story, and now I listen to the story,” he said.

Tobin was the guy who swore in the borough’s mayor, Tim Snyder, who is also up for reelection this year.

“It is a great time and a great event (the Republican dinner) where you can meet our committee people and understand how fortunate we are to have dedicated service people committed to the Lititz community,” said Snyder, a former Lititz Borough councilman who became mayor in 2014.

“It doesn’t matter what party you’re in though, all of the people around here work hard to make Lititz great and promote it, which is exactly what my job is,” he said.

Snyder also owns the Sturgis Pretzel House in Lititz.

Look for a full list of local seats up for reelection in next week’s Record Express.

Back to the dinner, which highlighted seven common pleas court judges up for retention for 10-year terms on the Lancaster County court bench.

Judges are not permitted to be affiliated with a party during their term, except during to their initial election and for a brief period prior in the last year of their 10-year term.

All those judges at the Sutter Friday are supported by the Lancaster County Republican Party and WARC, Peters said.

In the last 17 years no Lancaster judges have been denied retention. In 2005, former Supreme Court justice Russell Nigro was not granted retention, reportedly because of his role in supporting the infamous legislative pay raise that year.

Six of the seven judges up for retention were at the Sutter Friday. They included Donald R. Totaro, Howard F. Knisely, Jeffery D. Wright, Christopher A. Hackman, and Jeffrey J. Reich.

Margaret Miller, who is also up for retention, did not make the event due to an illness.

Lancaster County DA Craig Stedman is throwing his name into consideration for one of several statewide judicial openings this year. Stedman, a former prosecutor who was re-elected to his third term in 2015, is seeking the Republican Party of Pennsylvania endorsement for one of four open seats on the Superior Court.

The party will endorse four Republicans for the 15-member court during its meeting on Feb. 4, and Stedman said he will not continue to run if he doesn’t get one of the endorsements.

He received a “Highly Recommended” rating from the Pennsylvania Bar Association Judicial Evaluation Commission.

In the 2017 election, voters will be filling one seat on the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, four seats on the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, and two seats on the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania.

Each candidate requesting an evaluation by the PBA JEC was eligible to receive a rating of “highly recommended,” “recommended” or “not recommended.”

These are the PBA JEC’s ratings for the potential candidates:

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania

Highly Recommended:

Justice Sallie Updyke Mundy, Tioga County; Judge Judith F. Olson, Allegheny County

Recommended:

Judge Dwayne D. Woodruff, Allegheny County

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

Highly Recommended: Judge Emil A. Giordano, Northampton County; Judge Deborah A. Kunselman, Beaver County; Judge H. Geoffrey Moulton Jr., Washington County; Judge Paula A. Patrick, Philadelphia County; Judge Lillian Harris Ransom, Philadelphia County; Judge Carl A. Solano, Philadelphia County; Craig W. Stedman, Lancaster County

Recommended: Albert J. Flora Jr., Luzerne County; Judge Wade A. Kagarise, Blair County; Judge Maria C. McLaughlin, Philadelphia County; Judge Carolyn H. Nichols, Philadelphia County

Not Recommended: William F. Caye II, Allegheny County

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania

Highly Recommended: Judge Joseph M. Cosgrove, Luzerne County; James C. Crumlish III, Montgomery County; Judge Christine Fizzano Cannon, Delaware County; Matthew L. Wolford, Erie County.

Recommended:

Rep. Bryan E. Barbin, Cambria County; W. Timothy Barry, Allegheny County; Judge Ellen H. Ceisler, Philadelphia County; R. Todd Eagen, Lackawanna County; Paul N. Lalley, Allegheny County; Kenneth J. Suter, Dauphin County

Not Recommended:

Irene McLaughlin Clark, Allegheny County

The Pennsylvania Bar Association said the information was issued to “help voters select the candidates who are best suited to serve as knowledgeable, fair and impartial judges and justices on the appellate courts,” said Robert F. Morris of Montgomery County, chair of the PBA JEC. “The commission only recommends potential candidates who have the legal ability, experience, integrity and temperament to provide satisfactory or outstanding performance as appellate judges and justices.”

Patrick Burns is social media editor and staff writer for the Lititz Record Express. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at pburns.eph@lnpnews.com or at 721-4455.

 

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