Editorial: Chiles well prepared to serve as Cabell County circuit judge
Not so many years ago, some West Virginia elections were decided in the Democratic primary.
But Republicans are fielding more candidates in more races, and there are not many of those scenarios this spring.
One exception is the contest for Cabell County circuit judge.
Judge Chris Chiles, longtime Cabell County prosecutor, faces local attorney Cheryl Henderson in the Democratic primary, and no Republicans have filed for the race. Unless the GOP nominates a candidate by August, the winner of the primary this month will have the seat on the bench.
Judge David Pancake, who had served as judge for 16 years, stepped down on Jan. 31, and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin appointed Chiles to fill the seat through November. This year's election will decide who will fill out the remaining two years of Pancake's term.
Voters are fortunate to have two outstanding candidates to consider. Both are Cabell County natives, with deep roots in the community and distinguished legal careers.
Henderson has spent nearly 30 years in private practice at the Henderson, Henderson & Staples law firm. Her work has included a mix of criminal and civil cases, and a specialty in family law.
She also has been a leader with numerous community organizations, including the Junior League of Huntington, Ebenezer Medical Outreach and Huntington Museum of Art, and she has served on the Huntington Zoning Appeals Board and the Tri-State Airport Authority.
Chiles was Cabell County prosecuting attorney for 24 years, before his appointment to the bench. Before that he served as an assistant prosecutor and was in private practice for a number of years. He has been a leader in many youth activities including Boy Scouts, Little League baseball and youth soccer and served with a number of civic organizations.
While prosecutor, Chiles also has been involved with addressing many of the big issues facing the judicial system, developing a victim's assistance program, Cabell County's Community Court program and Drug Court program. He also worked on the national level, serving as president of the National District Attorney's Association with initiatives on juvenile justice, ethics and crimes against the elderly.
While both candidates are certainly qualified for the job and both were on the short list for the Tomblin appointment in March, we feel Chiles is the best choice. His knowledge of the judicial process, extensive courtroom experience and work with the critical issues facing today's court system prepare him particularly well to serve as Cabell County Circuit judge.
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