Judge of the Superior Court Division 2 candidates Christopher Dailey (R) and Lucky Reddy (D) discussed issues related to the courtroom office they’re seeking and why they are best-qualified for the role, just after a prankster pulled a fire alarm at the Vigo County Public Library last night.
The Vigo County League of Women Voters and the Terre Haute Tribune-Star sponsored the candidate forum that had started an hour before officials evacuated everyone from the building at about 8 p.m. Just minutes upon the crew’s arrival, firefighters from the Terre Haute Fire Department determined that the the fire alarm incident was a prank.
The two-hour discussion was divided into two parts, with the first hour featuring those in the contested races for Vigo County Commissioner, District 1 and Vigo County Council, Districts 1, 2 and 4. Candidates other than Reddy and Dailey seeking seats this general election –and taking part in the forum–included county council candidates Mike Morris (R-4,)Jeffrey Ewen (D-4,)Bill Thomas (D-2,) Glenn Purnell (R-1,) Tim Curly (D-1) and one candidate for county commissioner, Jon Marvel (D-1.) His opponent , Naylor “Champ” Coughlin (R-1) was absent due to dental procedure. Also not present, county council candidate Chris Knew (R-2.)
Noting that Superior Court Division 2 mostly handles matters regarding families, children and seniors, Reddy said her goal is to “steer family law disputes toward compromise and collaboration.” She listed her academic background, clerkship on the Indiana Supreme Court, legal experience, knowledge of the law, creative problem-solving skills, optimism about families and diverse life experiences as qualities making her the ideal candidate for the position.
Explaining that state statute allows for the court to, in fact, hear both criminal and civil cases, Dailey said a local court allocation plan has Division 2 only handling civil cases, including family law, foreclosures and collections. He listed his attributes for the bench as well. While detailing his academic and parochial background, he described several boards and local organizations he’s served on and reviewed with the audience his legal career including experience as city court judge.
“I have always believed that I am at my best in service to others, and I am running for Division 2 judge to make a difference,” Dailey said. “In all cases, the judge is not an advocate, but rather an independent, impartial and wise decision-maker,” he continued,adding that experience is necessary along with a background “marked with commitment and dedication to the law and the courts.”
Both Division 2 candidates, vying to fill the spot of retiring Hon. Phillip Adler, were asked questions regarding juvenile law, court efficiency and sentencing guidelines, but at the end of the forum it came back to the topic of divorce and child custody cases.
“We are seeing the ramifications of what’s happening with divorcing families and the hostile environment,” Reddy said.
In closing, Dailey gave a personal account of his childhood, “fractured” by divorced parents. He believes his personal and professional experiences would make him an effective Division 2 judge.
A common ground for the other candidates at the event was for stimulation of future economic development in Vigo County. Questions posed to council and commissioner candidates included the need for a new county jail, infrastructure improvements and enhancing business and employment opportunities in the county.
Former jail administrator and sheriff, Marvel says his vast experience in public service makes him a good choice for commissioner. An assistant director of public safety, also with a long law enforcement career, Curley noted that his hard work and that of others currently on the council, have led to improvements in the overall economic picture of the county.
Ewen, a pharmacist, gained his prior local government experience in another state.He said that serving on the council takes a group effort, involving working with other offices towards achieving common goals. He said past successes are attributed to having a property tax cap in place. Purnell said prudent, decision -making ability is what’s needed on the council. With a background in business administration and computer technology, he’d like to serve on the council to help make the county a better place to live.
A small business owner, Morris, has served on the county council six years. He said he’d like to continue job development in the community and road improvements. Thomas, finishing up his first term, is also a business owner and previously served as president of the West Terre Haute town board. He’d like to continue working with the $58 million budget, which takes a while to get a grasp on, he said.