By Craig Hastings
In my eleven plus years writing this column seldom have I offered an endorsement (read: speak favorably) of any candidate running for office just before the election date. I may have made comments and offered my opinions about an office holder, sometimes favorable and sometimes not so much, during their time currently serving or retired from but seldom right before their election. The reason I don’t and usually won’t is because I want to feel I truly have a firm grasp of what he/she believes their office was created to do. I have to be convinced the candidate is knowledgeable in the field their elected position represents. But shouldn’t we all?
Yes you should but, in order for me to encourage voters to vote for a candidate I must also know the candidate as an average “Joe”. I have to know who they are without the rhetoric of the political grandstanding most politicians must do if they truly want to win. A sad notion but true. Preferably I will have spent some time with them when they have opened up to me and shared what they feel about a multitude of topics. And the reason they opened up was because we are at a point where we are indeed friends regardless of each of our politics.
For those of you who do not share my political views on the big stage relax. This opinion of mine isn’t democrat or republican so the Trump vs Clinton of 2016 debacle won’t come into the discussion. This is a local sort of race and one about half of you won’t bother to vote for either candidate because you will feel that you won’t ever be affected by the outcome of the final vote. Tonight I hope to change your mind. I want you to vote and to trust me.
I encourage you to vote for Roger Webber for Circuit Judge. I’ve known Roger for nearly 20 years. I first met Roger when he became an Assistant State’s Attorney here in Douglas County. I was then and still today the Police Chief here in Tuscola. I can confidently tell you that Roger made an immediate impression on the law enforcement community here in Douglas County. John Chambers was Sheriff here in Douglas County at the same time I was Tuscola’s Police Chief, and I remember many conversations with John about Roger’s performance not only in the courtroom but also with his attention to the details preparing officers and deputies for trials and their testimonies.
We were pleased and proud to have Roger Webber on our team throughout his time here at the Douglas County State’s Attorney’s Office. I’ve served the citizens of Tuscola as a law enforcement officer for 38 years. I’ve learned that is important to not only enforce the laws of this state but to also be compassionate and understanding while doing so. Police Officers, State’s Attorneys, and Judges all need to be able to look beyond the black and white of the facts of the cases they are involved. It’s imperative that they can discover and understand the plight that may have brought those defendants before them.
We are taught, and it may be true, that we were all created equal, equal in the womb, before each of us were born. But, it has been my experiences that after we’re born that people do not continue to be equal and as a matter of fact may differ tremendously as we progress to adulthood. And it’s for this reason that those of us that choose law enforcement and public service as our calling that we understand this. Just because the majorities do not understand the actions of those guilty of crimes doesn’t mean the courts take a lock up and throw away the keys attitude.
Good and successful judges understand this and rule from the bench accordingly. Douglas County has been fortunate to have had retired Judge Lincoln, retired Judge Carroll, and sitting Judge Broch, serve this circuit because they are compassionate and caring professionals. I’m confident Roger Webber fits their same mold and will continue to serve the circuit with the same distinction and professionalism as those before him. Every one of us deserves and expects that we, our friends, and our families be treated as equals in the eyes of our courts.