Date:  July 12 and July 19, 2012

Location:  Port Ludlow Beach Club, Port Ludlow, Washington

Event:  Candidate Forums

Partners:  Jefferson County/Port Townsend Leader and Jefferson County American Association of University Women

The League of Women Voters of Jefferson County, Washington, held two judicial candidate forums in Port Ludlow on July 12 and 19.  Both events were moderated by Fred Obee of the Jefferson County/Port Townsend Leader. 

The July 12 forum, attended by 40 people, featured six of the nine statewide Supreme Court candidates, as well as one candidate representative.  The candidates described their life experiences and qualifications for the bench, and responded to a recent Jefferson County Bar Association poll that evaluated them across five professional categories.  Justice Stephen Gonzalez, whose opponent, Bruce Danielson, has not campaigned or appeared in public, weighed in on the value of judicial diversity on the state Supreme Court and its impact on elections.  Candidates also fielded questions from the audience on healthcare, judicial activism, and their views on prosecuting attorneys versus defense lawyers.

The July 19 forum, attended by 80 people, featured all six Court of Appeals (Division 2) candidates and all three candidates for the Superior Court of Jefferson County.  In addition to sharing their backgrounds, candidates addressed the importance of judicial independence and diversity, and responded to the same recent Jefferson County Bar Association poll that evaluated them along five categories.  The candidates also evaluated the process by which court commissioners can hear cases and then advocate for those cases in front of the Supreme Court, agreeing that reform is needed to increase the perception of fairness.

The events were covered in the Port Townsend and Jefferson County Leader, as well as in The Peninsula Daily News and on KPTZ, the local FM radio station, and video recordings of the events were shown on the local public-access cable channel.