New judges ready to run (for office)

Analysis

This is a pretty straight forward piece about candidates running for a judicial seat. No platform information is reported nor information about the track record of the incumbent Jon Hulsing.

Article Text

OTTAWA COUNTY — Ottawa County Assistant Prosecutor Jon Hulsing already was gearing up to run for circuit judge this fall.

Now, the Jenison Republican will have the advantage of being an incumbent after Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat, appointed him as Ottawa County Circuit Court judge.

He was to take the oath of office today in Lansing and expects to start the job soon. While Hulsing still must run this fall to keep the seat, he will campaign as an incumbent. “I’m very humbled by the appointment,” Hulsing said today. “The governor reached beyond partisan politics and made her choice. I didn’t know what the governor was going to do, but I had faith in my qualifications and what I could bring to the bench.”

Hulsing will fill the seat vacated in Ottawa County Circuit Court by Judge Wesley Nykamp’s retirement.

Granholm also appointed Joseph Skocelas, 49, of Plainwell, as a district judge in Allegan County, replacing Judge Gary Stewart, who resigned last year.

Hulsing, 45, who has worked as a prosecutor since 1995, narrowly lost out on a circuit judgeship in 2004 when county voters elected Jon Van Allsburg to a new seat. So far, no candidate has declared a challenge to Hulsing. Hulsing was among at least three in the running for the seat. None of the three was a Democrat.

Dawn Krupp, a Grand Rapids lawyer who has run in the past as an independent, said she didn’t know the governor had announced her decision. She refused comment then hung up on a reporter this morning.

Grand Rapids lawyer Ann Stuursma, who has contributed to the Republican party, could not be reached for comment. In Allegan County, Skocelas will have to file a petition by Tuesday declaring his intent to run for the judicial seat, possibly in a run-off as soon as the August primary. “I’m grateful for the opportunity, but the bottom line is that the courtroom belongs to the people and I’m going to have to start work to maintain the job,” said Skocelas, a veteran of 25 years in the Kalamazoo County Prosecutor’s office. “That’s the way it should be.

“It’s such a quick period between taking the job and the election that I can only hope voters give me a chance to show the governor was right.” Skocelas faces one immediate challenger in Allegan Assistant Prosecutor Margaret Bakker. Bakker, who also sought the appointment and has 23 years of experience in the prosecuting field, filed her petition Wednesday.

“I believe I can provide the service the community demands,” Bakker said. Her boss, county Prosecutor Frederick Anderson, may run for election as well. Anderson and Bakker were among five candidates interviewed by Granholm for the position.

The winner will serve the remainder of Stewart’s term through 2008. Each candidate went through interviews with a Michigan State Bar committee, which made recommendations to Granholm.

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Author: mediamouse

Grand Rapids independent media // mediamouse.org