JUDGE-ELECT, KRISTEN BURKS, SHATTERS GLASS CEILINGS IN MIDTERM ELECTION
(Macon, Missouri) A night in which partisanship took control and gripped the election results rendering victories for most all Republican incumbents and candidates throughout Missouri in the 2018 Midterm, including ousting Democratic Incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill and replacing the Senator with a young Republican, MO Attorney General Josh Hawley, a local attorney who ran as an Independent, broke through and shattered several glass ceilings which have been standing for more than a century in the 41st Judicial Circuit. Attorney Kristen Burks defeated Republican Incumbent Judge Philip E. Prewitt on Tuesday, becoming the first woman and the first Independent to win an associate judgeship in the 41st Judicial Circuit which covers both Macon County and Shelby County. Macon County was established in 1837 and Shelby County in 1835 - court records for the 41st Judicial Circuit begin in 1837 at the Macon County Courthouse. Burks defeating Incumbent Prewitt by 297 votes, is set to take the oath at the beginning of the year and join on the bench, Circuit Judge Rick Tucker and Associate Judge Mike Greenwell (Shelbyville). We reached out to Associate Judge-Elect, Kristen Burks for a comment.
1. Describe your experience leading up to the election (campaigning).
"The days leading up to the election were about using the time we had left to reach the most voters. We were knocking on doors all over the county as late as Saturday, trying to use every last minute of daylight to meet voters. The day before and the day of the election were law days for me, so I was glad to be busy at work. I felt like we did the best we could with the time and resources available. There were a lot of nerves Election Day, and just so much joy and gratitude when we learned the outcome," stated Burks.
2. Winning the election - describe how you feel about it?
"I am so happy. I will be working over the next two months to wind up my private practice, and help the Prosecutor's Office and the Macon County Juvenile Office with the transition to new attorneys. Mostly, I am so excited to get to work. There will be a lot to learn in a short amount of time, and I am looking forward to getting started," stated Burks.
3. Describe your thoughts on being the first female and independent being elected to an associate judgeship in Macon County/41st Circuit?
"I had not thought on the idea of being the first female associate judge in the circuit until the night of the election. My mom was the first person in her family to graduate from college, and I am so humbled to accomplish another "first" for our family, and so happy that she was with me to see it happen. The credit for winning as an independent candidate goes to the voters. I say that because it was the voters who looked at this election in a different way than they might look at an election for a legislative or executive position. Our campaign focused on what qualities make for a good judge, and the voters were willing to consider issues that had little to do with party politics. I could not have been successful without support from people from both parties. Many, many times people told me that, in local elections, they vote for the person, and not the party. I believe them," stated Burks.
4. What do you look forward to most being a judge?
"When people appear in court, their lives are often unsettled, and they are looking to the court for a resolution. I am looking forward to using the experience I gained as an attorney to help me make good decisions in a timely manner. I have always enjoyed working with the court staff and the other attorneys in our circuit, so starting a new job where I already know everyone at work is great," stated Burks.
Nationwide, according to the Los Angeles Times, out of 270 women who ran for Gubernatorial positions and offices within the US Congress, over 121 women were elected throughout the nation in the 2018 Midterm Election. 103 women are Democrats and 18, Republican. 2018 was one of the most historic elections for women seeking office across the nation, shattering records. Sandra Day O'Connor was the first woman to be appointed to the United States Supreme Court in 1981. In 1915, Frances Hopkins was the first woman to become a judge in Missouri. In 1977, Ann Covington was the first woman to be appointed and to hold, Chief Justice of the Missouri Supreme Court. In two years (2020), will be the centennial anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment of the United States Constitution, giving women the right to vote.
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