Pauls Valley Democrat
The gavel has not yet fallen on who will wear the robe and be the next associate district judge here in Garvin County.
The process appears to be moving forward as it looks like four attorneys, three from Pauls Valley, are in the running to replace the recently retired John Blake.
Blake announced this past spring he would retire from the post with a year remaining in his term. His last day in office was July 31.
Blake himself was appointed to the associate district judge’s post back in 2004.
An appointment by the governor is also on the court docket for the person who will replace him.
All indications are that next judge will come from the group of Steve Kendall, Kristin Jarman and Ryan Rennie, all from PV, and Norman attorney David Batton.
It’s reported Batton might also be among the contenders to replace longtime Cleveland County Judge Tom Lucas, who has retired from his district judge seat in Judicial District 21. It includes Cleveland, McClain and Garvin counties.
Members of a Judicial Nomination Committee will ultimately narrow the search down to three of the nominees.
Their names are then sent to the governor who makes the appointment as Garvin County’s next associate district judge.
Although Batton was not available, the other three nominees offered their reasons for seeking the office.
“I have very strong reasons for wanting to do it,” Kendall said.
“I’m on a search for the truth. To me I’ve always been attracted to trying to do the right thing and find the right answer,” he said.
“I’ve always been attracted to being someone who works to sort out the contested truth; to sorting out the complicated issues and finding the truth; to help discover the truth.”
Kendall believes his skills, knowledge and experience would be an asset to the judge’s office.
For Jarman her interest in the job centers around community.
“I’ve always had a love for my community,” she said. “This is my way to give back to the community.”
She says a big influence on her, when it comes to striving for fairness, has been her grandmother, who was the first ever woman elected to serve as a prosecutor in Garvin County.
“These are the principals that have governed me to pursue an avenue to further these ideals of civil protection for people,” Jarman said. “But I really just want to do my part for the community that has given so much to me.
“I want the voices of the Garvin County people to be heard. I want to be prepared, well engaged and thoughtful. Whether it’s a divorce or other type of proceeding, to many people this is the most stressful thing in their lives,” she said.
“They need to know they’re going to have a judge who’s going to be attentive and give them the respect they deserve.
“I want them to know I’m going to listen and give them their day in court.”
Rennie’s law practice is continuing a family tradition in the judicial system here in Garvin County. He grew up in Pauls Valley and returned here after law school.
His interest in the judge’s office is to use facts and the law to resolve issues coming before the court.
“The associate district judge is a respected and sought after position,” Rennie said.
“I believe I have the qualities to be a good associate district judge. I am able to look at facts, to see the cases from all sides and apply the law in a fair manner,” he said.
“I’ve always thought of myself as someone who is able to look at both sides of an issue and come up with a balanced result.
“That’s my background, not being biased in one direction.”