MARQUETTE - Two people will appear on Tuesday's ballot in the race for Marquette County Probate Judge.
Assistant Marquette County prosecutor Cheryl Hill and George Hyde, the county's chief juvenile court referee, advanced through the August primary election.
The candidates - both of Marquette - were asked to provide background information they thought voters would most like to know and why voters should choose them. Word limitations were imposed on each answer.
In describing her background, Hill said: "As a lawyer I helped clients deal with loss, but lately I've experienced my own loss as my mother slips further into dementia. She was a nurse for over 50 years, but now she's unable to care for herself. I made the difficult decision to create a probate court guardianship for her. I know the importance of always treating her with compassionate understanding and preserving her dignity. My mother taught me that we all have the duty to take care of those who are unable to take care of themselves. That's the lesson I will bring to the probate court."
Hill said voters should choose her because: "I have the experience, knowledge of the law and temperament that are necessary to be a probate judge. In private practice I represented people in all kinds of probate cases. As a prosecutor, I successfully prosecuted cases of child abuse and neglect and represented petitioners in mental health commitment proceedings. I am fluent and experienced in the law, have achieved success in the courtroom and earned respect for my legal skill from judges and my peers. As probate judge I will be decisive in deciding the legal issues that confront the court. In addition I am strongly committed to the belief that everyone who comes before the court is entitled to respect, compassion and equal justice under law.
"I care about our community. Throughout my 25-year career as a lawyer, my goal has been to do the best I can to help those around me, whether as a lawyer serving those in need of legal services or as a community volunteer. I want to continue as your judge. Marquette County is my home. My family has been here for generations and it's where I chose to raise my children. I have earned the trust and respect of law enforcement, retired judges, labor and civic leaders, all of whom have recognized that I have the legal skills, the proven judgment and thoughtful compassion to lead the probate court."
In describing his background, Hyde said: "I am a lifelong resident of the U.P. and live in Marquette with my wife Vicki and 5-year-old daughter Allison. I have practiced family law in Marquette County for over 17 years.
"Since 2001 I have also served as the Marquette County Juvenile Court Referee, a judicial officer position in the Probate Court, appointed by retiring Judge Michael Anderegg. I am a veteran of the Michigan Army National Guard, 107th Engineer Battalion, and a member of the American Legion and AMVETS.
"I am a board member of the U.P. Children's Museum, John Voelker Foundation and NMU Blue Line Club."
Hyde said voters should choose him because: "With my unique combination of legal and judicial experience, I am the most qualified candidate for this position and the natural choice to succeed retiring Probate Judge Michael Anderegg. As the juvenile court referee for nearly 12 years, I have presided over more than 5,000 hearings involving abuse and neglect of children, and juvenile delinquency matters. None of my decisions have ever been appealed. I am the only candidate with judicial experience.
"The probate judge presides over cases involving children, the vulnerable, and the elderly. For nearly 12 years, I have served the people of this great county as the juvenile court referee, making difficult and emotional decisions from the probate court bench, in the same way as the probate judge. As the referee, I have helped guide many children and families through their challenges, and have helped put them on a path to health, success and happiness. Countless parents and children have told me through the years that I have indeed made a positive impact on their lives and their families as the referee, which I consider to be the highest possible compliment.
"I have been making judicial decisions already for nearly 12 years, and that experience has prepared me to be your next probate judge. With my legal and judicial experience, and my experience as a husband and father, I have an established history of making fair, appropriate and compassionate judicial decisions. Please let me put my judicial experience to work for you as your next probate judge."
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. election day.
Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.