In case you didn't know, "Circuit court" is trial court; this is the court where a judge hears motions and presides over trials on matters from probate and divorce to armed robbery and murder, literally "life and death" matters. I felt I should include that description so you, the voter, can better evaluate my suitability for the position based on my credentials and experiences. Historically, candidates have spread this information by going door-to-door or calling voters at home to introduce themselves and "ask for your vote". I am choosing a different method of introduction. In part, because this allows me to reach more people, but mostly because the vast majority of my friends, family and colleagues don't like strangers knocking on their doors or calling their homes. I understand this feeling because I consider my home my sanctuary, where neighbors are friends and friends are welcome, but others should wait for an invitation.
Now, since I am asking you to choose me for a job in your community, I think I should answer the questions you might ask if this were a job interview.
A: I graduated from Auburn University with a double major in Philosophy and Religion. I then received my Masters in Philosophy from The Ohio State University and taught classes on ethics, logic and philosophical principles while completing my Doctoral coursework. Prompted by the tragic events of September 11, 2001, I enlisted in the United States Army. I attended the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, where I was taught to read, write and speak Arabic, after which I was attached to the 10th Mountain Light Infantry Division stationed at Fort Drum, NY. While at Ft. Drum I received additional training in intelligence gathering and analysis and attended Air Assualt School where I learned how to leave a helicopter in flight the hard way. The latter isn't really relevant to being a judge, but it was pretty cool! I deployed with my Brigade and spent a year in Western Baghdad. While there, I worked as a Signals intelligence analyst and I was the driver for a four-man Signals Intelligence Team. Our team accompanied infantry units on night-time missions to find and capture or kill insurgents responsible for attacking Coalition forces and Iraqi civilians. Following my deployment and honorable discharge from the Army, I took advantage of the Post 9/11 GI Bill and attended law school at Vanderbilt University. I worked with the Nashville District Attorney's office prior to opening my own legal practice in Ashland City (the county seat of Cheatham County). I currently practice law throughout the 23rd District, which includes Cheatham, Dickson, Houston, Humphreys and Stewart counties as well as other parts of Tennessee.
A: I'm an Independent. I've never been comfortable with the political party system, with what it's done to our state or to our nation, or with the way it tends to keep the same old folks in and new blood out. I've actually never registered to vote under a party affiliation. On occasion, I've given money to candidates who I think might do some good: candidates of both "major" parties, candidates of third parties and candidates who run as independents. Part of what attracts me to a judicial race is that it's not a party politics kind of thing; we want judges to be Independent. "Independent," isn't a bad word when it describes a judge: it's a good one. In other kinds of more "political" races, being an Independent is a liability. But we wouldn't want judges making decisions in civil or criminal cases based on party affiliations; we want judges in trial courts to render decisions based on the law as its written, irrespective of the political party of the people who wrote it. Where judges are concerned we can, do and should celebrate our Independents.
A: I've spent many years thinking about Justice (even teaching about it) and about the Constitution, and I've even put my life on the line in the service of both. I've got a breadth of experience, including experience making life-and-death decisions quickly and on the basis of imperfect information. I also have a knack for objectivity and the capacity to see both sides of any dispute. I think I'd make a very effective judge. In fact, I believe it's a calling: that my whole life has been leading me up to this point.
I hope that has helped you learn a little bit about me professionally and as a candidate, and now I would like to tell you a little bit about me personally and as member of your community. My wife, Cindy and I have been married for 17 years and we have a toddler named Alice, who is AWESOME! We live in Kinston Springs with our 4, yes 4, exasperating rescue dogs. We belong to the Kingston Springs United Methodist Church where I am Youth Director, and our family is in charge of the F.U.E.L. program, providing weekend/holiday food packs to local school children. One afternoon a week I tutor elementary students at The Way community center in Pegram, and most Saturdays in the Fall I am watching S.E.C. football. I remain active with Veteran's groups, and volunteer as an ESGR Ombudsman. Also, I try to keep a fishing rod and tackle in my vehicle at all times since my drive to different courts in the district takes me past some beautiful bodies of water, and you never know when the fish might be biting. If you see me, wave. I always wave back.
Hopefully my "interview" went well, and would lead to this follow-up:
A: ELECTION IS THURSDAY, AUGUST 7TH and EARLY VOTING DATES are JULY 18th through AUGUST 2nd
If you are unsure of your voter registration status or polling place or need to register to vote visit the Tennessee Voter Registration website at http://www.tn.gov/sos/election
If you have more questions for me or would like to request a yard sign, magnetic car sign, t-shirt or bumper sticker please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Paid for by Jack Arnold for Judge, Cindy Arnold Treasurer. (Campaign contributions are neither solicited nor accepted)