Enquirer Voter Guide

Justice - Ohio Supreme Court - Comm. 1-2-19

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    Mary DeGenaro

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    Melody J. Stewart

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Biographical Information

Why are you running?

What makes you the best candidate?

Campaign Phone (614) 946-4099
Age 58
City/town Poland, Ohio
Education/Degrees 1983 Youngstown State University, Bachelor of Arts, Economics & Combined Business. 1986 Cleveland State University, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Juris Doctor.
Community Involvement Professional Service includes: 2010-date Ohio Women’s Bar Association, current Vice-President; 2001-date Member Ohio Judicial Conference Judicial Ethics & Professionalism Committee and Co-Chair 2013-date, OJC Executive 2013-date, Founding Member Appellate Practice & Procedure 2013-date, Specialized Dockets 2017-date. 2005-date Founding Member Appellate Practice Certification Board through the Ohio State Bar Association which administers the bar exam for lawyers specializing in Appellate Practice. 2003-04 Named by then Chief Justice Thomas Moyer to serve on the Voter Education/Public Funding Working Group as a part of a larger Committee reviewing issues involving judicial races. Also helped prepare YSU teams to compete in national college appellate competitions and judged Ohio High School Mock Trial Competitions for 17 years. Community & Civic Service includes: 2015-date Ohio Civility Consortium, created in 2015 to promote and educate about the importance of civil discourse; 2017-date Ohio Farm Bureau member; 2011-date Mahoning Valley Historical Society Board, has held various offices; 2003-date Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County Board; 2007-2012 Mahoning County Alcohol & Drug Addiction Service Board; External Advisory Committees for Cleveland State University Center for Women in Public Service 2002-2004 and Youngstown State University College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences 2007-2009; Also a member of the Italian Education Foundation, Polish Arts Council and the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians. 2018 Inductee, Association of Ohio Commodores.
Endorsements Western Reserve Building and Construction Trades; Ohio State Medical Association; Ohio State Building and Construction Trades Council ACT Ohio; Ohio Chamber of Commerce; National Federation of Independent Business; Ohio Manufacturers Association; The Matriots; Columbus Fire Fighters Union Local 67 Ohio Society of CPAs; Ohio Right to Life; Toledo Police Command Officers' Association; Ohio Farm Bureau; International Union of Operating Engineers Local 18 (serving Ohio); Ohio Patrolmen's Benevolent Association; Toledo Police Patrolman's Association; Ohio Teamsters; Youngstown Teamsters Local 377 Cleveland Fire Fighters Local 93; C.A.M.E.O.-Cleveland American-Middle Eastern Organization; Ohio State Bar Association-Highly Recommended; Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association-Excellent; Norman S. Minor Bar Association-Excellent; Cuyahoga County Criminal Defense Bar-Excellent.
Campaign Message Keep a justice with almost 18 years of experience who deeply cares about the rule of law as well as for service to the public and the profession on the Ohio Supreme Court. Justice Mary has a track record of improving appellate practice in Ohio and the timely administration of justice, as well as on of active professional and public service that has made the lives of lawyers and the public better. Her message of civility is needed more than ever, as recognized by the broad bipartisan support for her candidacy.
To bring my almost 18 years of experience writing opinions to fill the void left by retiring justices and immediately fill that gap. In addition to deciding cases, a Justice must improve both access to and the administration of justice on the Supreme Court and courts statewide; educate the public about the work of judges and lawyers; and actively participate in public service. Before becoming a justice, in an 8 county district which is a mini-version of Ohio, over 17 years I wrote 1,000+ opinions in 3,000+ cases involving a variety of issues. In several significant cases appealed to the Supreme Court my reasoning was adopted. I have a passion for literacy, civic education and civility; as a justice I can bring attention to these issues and promote programs to make a difference for Ohioans in and out of court, such as stop the revolving jailhouse door and dispel the myths popular culture has created about the courts, and explain how judges, lawyers & their staff really help people.
To improve the courts' efficiency and effectiveness relationships with judges/lawyers statewide is important, which I built through active membership in the Ohio Judicial Conference, the Ohio Civility Consortium, and the Ohio Women's Bar Association. Those relationships enabled me to help organize a substance abuse seminar and was the moderator for a statewide sexual harassment seminar. I educate the public about courts addressing drug abuse, human trafficking and other juvenile/family issues; tools for judges to use in the drug/mental health crisis. I have never prejudged an issue or been swayed by public opinion or political expectations; my first opinion as a Justice was a lone dissent in a criminal case. Groups of different viewpoints have endorsed me because they all agree I will be fair. I'm honored to be a part of a team of 200+ dedicated staff working at the Court for Ohio's justice system, and have already had a positive impact on the Court and in my service off the bench.
Campaign Phone (614) 398-1469
Age 57
City/town Cleveland
Education/Degrees Cleveland State University - Honorary Doctor of Laws; Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, Case Western Reserve University - Ph.D.; Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland State University - J.D.; College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati - Bach. of Music.
Community Involvement Chair of the Capital Case Attorney Fee Council; Member of the Board of Trustees of the Judicial College of the Ohio Supreme Court; Member of the Ohio Criminal Justice Recodification Committee; Member of various bar associations, committees, and boards of trustees.
Endorsements Columbus Dispatch; "Highly Recommended" with the highest score of all Supreme Court Candidates by the Ohio State Bar Association; Ohio Fraternal Order of Police; rated "Excellent" by the Cuyahoga Criminal Defense Lawyers Association; Ohio Education Association; National Association of Social Workers - (OH); Ohio AFL-CIO; Stonewall Democrats; SEIU 1199; Ohio Patrolmen's Benevolent Association; Ohio Federation of Teachers; rated "Excellent-Preferred" by the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association and the Norman S. Minor Bar Association; and endorsed by various other organizations and elected officials.
Campaign Message For a better, stronger Ohio Supreme Court and a court in which the public can have more confidence, vote for Melody J. Stewart.
I am running for the Supreme Court in an effort to bring some balance and diversity of intellect and experience to a court made up of individuals who all belong to the same political party. That one-party-only representation and stranglehold at the highest level of our judiciary is not good for our very diverse state, particularly since the justices on the Supreme Court get to decide which cases will be heard based on the justices' determination of whether a case is of great importance to the state. I have the background, education, experience, and a perspective currently missing from the Court. I am also running because I am an excellent public servant who takes a great deal of pride in my work. I am a good steward of public resources and believe that public entities should be just as effective and efficient as privately owned ones. I believe that elected officials should remain vigilant in maximizing operations and being responsive to the needs of the constituents they serve.
Electing me improves the Supreme Court from day one as it will no longer be 100% one-party only. More so, I am the stronger and the better candidate in my race for the Supreme Court because I bring many attributes to the Court that are currently missing. I have over 30 years of varied legal experience. I practiced law, taught law, and was published in the law all before becoming an appellate court judge. Additionally having a background in music, business management, law practice, teaching law, and social science makes me a more well-rounded candidate with a stronger academic background and greater diversity of thought, intellect, and experience. I have always been involved in my local and the larger state community serving on boards and committees because I feel that work is also a part of my responsibility as an elected official. I have established a great reputation as an appellate court judge and officer of the court. I seek to bring that level of public service statewide.
If you need any help as a candidate, please email Carl Weiser at