Editor’s Note: As we approach the November General Election, Ohio Valley Publishing will be running articles allowing the candidates in contested races to introduce themselves and tell the voters why they are running for office. Each candidate is asked, in their own words, to respond to two questions — tell us about yourself and why are you running for this office.
OHIO VALLEY — Voters will be deciding two races in the Fourth District Court of Appeals on election day, including the race with Incumbent Marie Hoover (D) facing off against Attorney Jason Smith (R). The race involving Mike Hess (R) and Valarie K. Gerlach (D) will be featured in an upcoming edition.
The Fourth District includes: Adams, Athens, Gallia, Highland, Hocking, Jackson, Lawrence, Meigs, Pickaway, Pike, Ross, Scioto, Vinton, and Washington.
Both candidates are running for the term commencing Feb. 9, 2019. Candidates, along with their responses submitted to Ohio Valley Publishing, are listed below in alphabetical order.
Tell us about yourself:
Presiding/Administrative Judge of the 4th District Court of Appeals; written 300+ and voted on 600+ decisions; handled approximately 70 appeals, in Ohio and Kentucky, with many oral arguments; practiced law for 18+ years prior to being elected judge; extensive jury and bench trial experience in criminal and civil law, in state/federal courts, domestic relations, juvenile and probate cases, personal injury cases, contract and land disputes, etc.
Handled wrongful imprisonment case in the Ohio Court of Claims, Chapter 7 bankruptcies; adversary proceedings in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, and civil rights cases.
Former law director for Waverly and solicitor for Piketon; Have been a contract attorney for the Ohio Public Defender’s Office. Defended felonies and misdemeanors in Pike and Adams Counties. Prosecuted cases in Waverly and Piketon; handled conflict cases for the Pike County Prosecutor’s Office as a special prosecutor.
Adjunct faculty member for Shawnee State University teaching legal research and writing and other courses.
B.A. from Miami University; J.D. from Ohio State University; married to Tracy Hoover, Attorney; two children, Nate (20) and Nick (18); Nate is a 1st year law student at University of Toledo College of Law on full tuition scholarship; Nick is a senior at SSU studying biomedical sciences, preparing to take the MCAT.
Endorsed by: Tri-State Building Trades Unions; AFSCME Power in Action; Ohio Association of Public School Employees OAPSE/AFSCME Local 4, AFL-CIO Ohio Civil Service Employees Association, AFSCME Local 11; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 575; Shawnee Labor Council; Plumbers and Pipefitters, Local 577.
Why I decided to run for this office?
I practiced law for over 18 years prior to being elected to the bench in 2012. I have served as an appellate judge for the last 6 years. I originally ran for this office in 2012 and was elected. I had hopes of bringing my view of fairness to the bench. I also wanted to bring diversity to the bench, being the only woman and only minority. I believe that over the last six years, that I have indeed brought fairness and diversity to the bench. I have worked diligently, conscientiously, and efficiently during my term in office. I have earned the respect of my colleagues being elected as the Presiding and Administrative Judge of our court. I would like to continue working hard for our district and to continue to work towards technological progression for our court; I would also like to continue my work in our community speaking with school groups, girl and boy scouts, and other community groups. I want to make it normal for young people to see a woman as a judge and to break the stereotypes that are often associated with judges.
Jason P. Smith
Tell us about yourself:
I am a lifelong resident of Ironton, Ohio. I graduated from Ohio University in 1996 and The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law in 1999. In my career I have been a Lawrence County Assistant Prosecutor, I have been in-house counsel for McGinnis, Inc., and for the last several years I have had my own private practice where I focus on criminal defense, divorce, custody and juvenile law. I am married to Kelly Greco Smith and we have a 7 year old daughter, Marley. I am endorsed by Ohio Speaker of the House Ryan Smith, State Senator Bob Peterson and U.S. Congressman Bill Johnson.
Why I decided to run for this office:
I decided to run for this office because I did not like the alarming trend of judges legislating from the bench. I believe a judge’s role is to interpret and apply the law. I believe in the separation of powers – specifically, that the role of making law and policy belongs to the legislature, not judges. Most importantly I am a Constitutionalist and I will limit my rulings accordingly. I believe the Constitution is the second greatest written document in human history and I will work tirelessly every day to protect and defend it. Finally, I love the people of Southern Ohio and I would cherish the opportunity to serve them on the Court of Appeals.