Judge David H. McKenna, the longest-serving judge in Hillsboro Municipal Court history, said he has decided to seek a fourth term on the bench.
McKenna said that he had originally thought he would retire at the end of this year, which will complete his third six-year term, and he had said as much to people. But in a prepared statement, McKenna said, “I have too much hard work to complete to retire at this time.”
McKenna said, “Since first elected, it has been my honor and privilege to serve the citizens of Highland County as Municipal Court Judge beginning in 2000. After presiding over more than 100,000 cases in the past 17 years, I believe that I have unmatched experience to continue the work. I am confident enough in the work I have done to invite voters to ask their friends in law enforcement if they support my re-election.”
McKenna said he considered retirement for several reasons, including the fact he will turn 65 this summer, and his children have grown. But “the work is stimulating, and I often say that it is never boring,” he said.
McKenna noted that “as many of you know, the heroin/opioid epidemic of the past few years has been a sea change in the world of criminal justice. I have been a prosecutor, defense attorney and now judge since 1985. The crisis with addiction and the criminal conduct that it generates has overwhelmed law enforcement. The hardest part is watching the constant stream of people destroying their lives, abandoning their children and frequently dying. Years of dealing with it every day makes a person ‘battle weary.’”
But McKenna said, “It is not my nature to quit when things get hard, just because I can. I believe we are making a positive difference in the lives of dozens of addicts who are struggling to recover their lives. In September 2015 we organized a treatment task force after the probation department obtained a $245,000 grant to develop a pilot program for heroin treatment. We have devoted thousands of hours to save families and lives. We are making progress. I want to continue that work. We are saving lives and I need to save more.”
McKenna said Hillsboro Municipal Court has operated within or under budget for 17 straight years. He said it was the first court in Highland County to establish internet access.
“My clerks are dedicated, courteous and efficient, with a combined experience in excess of 75 years on the job,” said McKenna. “We have an excellent working relationship with all local law enforcement agencies.”
McKenna has served 15 years on the Criminal Law and Procedure Committee, 12 years on the Community Corrections Committee of the Ohio Judicial Conference, 16 years as vice chairman of the Highland County Community Corrections and Re-entry Coalition, and is a stakeholder in the Rocky Fork-RFLASAP development grant.
“I ask for your support and vote so that I may continue serving as your Hillsboro Municipal Court Judge,” said McKenna.