Press Editorial

August 3, 2010

By Staff

Judicial candidates are all well qualified

Though the congressional and legislative races on the Aug. 17 primary ballot have received the most attention, local voters must also decide important judicial contests. However, due to limitations on what judges can say during an election, it is often the hardest ballot decision for voters.

Perhaps the most important decision for Issaquah, Sammamish and other Eastside residents is the contest for a new King County District Court judge. Voters will pick someone to fill a new position created to address increasing caseloads.

The court handles some civil matters, misdemeanor crimes and traffic infractions, plus local violations caught by the Washington State Patrol and other state agencies. Because of the broad range of cases that come before District Court, judges serve a vital role as spokespeople for the judicial system.The ideal candidate should be experienced, articulate, quick-witted and, most importantly, fair. Fortunately, the candidates for the Position 7 seat — Donna Tucker, Ketu Shah and Larry Mitchell — exhibit these qualities in abundance.

Each of the candidates is a principled leader with a long record of public service and a familiarity with the communities he or she would serve as a District Court judge.

The Municipal League of King County — the unofficial gatekeeper in local elections — rated Tucker and Shah as outstanding, and Mitchell as very good. In short, voters cannot go wrong in deciding this race.

Because the race could be decided in the primary (if one candidate gets 50 percent of the vote), only one candidate receives our endorsement: Ketu Shah.

The Mercer Island resident has shown capability and compassion through his work with domestic violence victims, both at the Bellevue Municipal Court and through Chaya, a nonprofit organization that helps South Asian women who have been victims of domestic violence.

In Bellevue, Shah streamlined the way the court handled domestic violence cases. This innovative focus on customer service will be essential as King County grapples with possible cuts to courts in the years ahead.

The combination of legal experience and community service makes Shah the clear choice to be our next judge to serve the Northeast District.

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