Candidates seeking the positions of Pinellas County Judge - Group 2, and Pinellas/Pasco 6th Circuit Judge Groups 15, 31 and 45 shared their qualifications and experiences to about 50 residents and potential voters at a forum Monday night at the North Greenwood Recreation and Aquatic Complex.
The eight judicial candidates, who are on the ballot for the Primary Election Aug. 14, had about five minutes each to talk. They did not take questions from the audience.
Here is what the candidates had to say:
Group 2 (county judge)
Sitting in for Scott Andringa was his uncle Bob.
Bob talked about how proud he is of his nephew, who could not attend the forum because he was hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro with the Livestrong Foundation.
Bob, a civil attorney in St. Petersburg, talked about the importance of dealing with tough times and reacting to that. His nephew got cancer in his shoulder a few years ago, he said.
“This is not for sympathy,” Bob said. “What Scott did, he got stronger, he got better.”
Scott now helps raise money for the Moffitt Cancer Center, which is why he was on the hike, his uncle said.
“Win or lose I’m proud to be the uncle of Scott Andringa,” Bob said.
For more: visit scottandringaforjudge.com.
Cathy Ann McKyton
Cathy Ann McKyton is not just a prosecutor.
She walked out from behind the podium to talk about being a mother, a wife and community service involvement.
McKyton said she learned decision making skills in different roles as a prosecutor and assistant state attorney.
“Being an attorney needed to be more than making money and a job,” she said.
She joined the Junior League of St. Petersburg, where she has volunteered hundreds of hours, she said.
“I think I have something to offer,” McKyton said.
For more: visit cathymckyton.com.
Bill Burgess wants to bring his attention to detail and diligence to the bench, the former Army Special Forces and a veteran of the first Gulf War said during his five minutes to stump.
He has tried more than 140 jury trials as a prosecutor in the state attorney’s office, he said. And he wrote a treatise that has become the definitive book on Florida’s sentencing laws.
“Whatever power a circuit judge holds,” Burgess said. “The power is something that is held in trust... It’s important for a judge to put people on a path to right... A judge should stand as a leader in the community.”
For more: visit billburgessforjudge.com.
Businessman. Attorney. Mayor.
Commitment to community is important to Andy Steingold who said he became mayor in Safety Harbor after noticing neighbor concerns were not being addressed by the city.
“You all are here because you are involved in neighborhoods,” Steingold said.
Steingold has practiced law in the Tampa Bay area for 25 years as a prosecutor and criminal defense.
For more: visit andysteingold4judge.com.
Brian Battaglia is Pinellas born and raised.
He is an advocate, teacher and attorney who touted his commitment to the community.
“I have a lot of experience with the process and the courts,” said Battaglia, who once served on the Town of Belleair's Planning and Zoning board.
For more: visit brianbattagliaforjudge.com.
Kimberly "Kim" Campbell
Kim Campbell came out with it at the outset. She is not from here. In her Tennessee twang, she talked about coming to Florida with nothing but two cats. She talked about the importance of higher education and being the only member of her family to have an advanced degree.
She worked as an assistant state attorney before starting a private practice covering criminal defense and family law. She got involved in the Guardian ad Litem program and is the president of the Clearwater Bar Association.
“I’m not all legal though,” Campbell said, before mentioning her husband is a sheriff’s deputy and she holds a martial arts’ black belt.
For more: visit kimcampbell4judge.com.
Six years ago Jack Day talked to voters about the need for a Day court.
Soon after, the incumbant was elected to his seat on the bench where he oversaw felony cases from Clearwater and New Port Richey. He is in his fourth year serving on the Unified Family Court
Day talked about being a founder of Gulf Coast Legal Services, which offers help to low income residents.
“Try to get things turned around before they get worse,” Day said.
For more: visit: dayincourt.us.
Agnes Theresa McCabe
Agnes Theresa McCabe started her legal career in Colorado, where finding jurors could become a challenge. Especially during the question regarding potential jurors knowledge of a defendant.
“Sometimes half the panel would raise their hands,” McCabe said.
Her career took her to Georgia and then, when her granddaughter was born, Florida. She has worked 12 years in the state attorney Bernie McCabe’s (no relation) office.
She is a volunteer in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, a mentor at Gulf Coast Legal Services and at the Humane Society of Pinellas.
“First day I volunteered I took a cat home,” McCabe said.
McCabe said she wants to have a greater impact in the community.
“Whatever kind of day you are having, the people having their children removed are having a worse day,” McCabe said. “And I think that’s important to remember.”
For more: visit agnesmccabe4judge.com.