In preparation for the primary election on May 16, the League of Women Voters hosted two Candidates’ Nights to give voters the opportunity to ask questions of the people running to represent them.
On Wednesday, Centre County judge of the Court of Common Pleas candidates Brian Marshall and Ron McGlaughlin, who are both cross-filed, answered six questions and then offered closing statements.
They were asked about their visions for the future of the judicial system, how they would reduce racial bias in sentencing and the Right-to-Know Law.
“We have to restore the confidence of the public in our court system, and doing that is to have judges who are, of course, impartial and also have the absolute appearance of impartiality because that’s just as important as actually being impartial,” Marshall said.
It’s important that Centre County residents believe in the fairness and impartiality of the judicial system, McGlaughlin said, adding that his goal is to step into the role and hit the ground running by using his 31 years of law experience.
Candidates were asked about whether they favor treatment or long periods of incarceration for those who sell drugs to finance their addiction, referring specifically to the opioid epidemic.
“The people that are addicted, and that are selling because they’re addicted, need help. They need drug court. There has to be some acceptance of responsibility, a minimum level of punishment. ... And so I would be in favor of the people that are addicted to get them treatment,” McGlaughlin said.
The community and society need to find the resources to help people who are addicted get into rehabilitation and to get off of drugs, Marshall said. When public resources are given to people, though, they need to be held accountable.
Marshall agreed that addicted people who sell drugs also need help, and that they should serve some amount of jail time for profiting from bring society down.
In his closing statement, Marshall emphasized his more than 15 years of law experience and that he’s practiced multiple areas of law. He said he specializes in family law because he feels it’s where he can best help his clients.
“I think I have the temperament and the patience that we need in a judge in the Court of Common Pleas,” he said.
Even though it’s an off-year election, this race is important because judges have direct impact on the lives of people in this community, McGlaughlin said.
“I’m passionate about people. I’m passionate about what I do,” he said.