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Primary will decide contenders for new Probate Judge

The race is on for a new Clare Probate Court Judge in the 17th District (Clare and Gladwin Counties).

Three contenders will be on the Primary Ballot next Tuesday. One will be eliminated and the remaining two will be on November’s ballot.

Former Prosecutor, and Assistant Prosecutor in Gladwin County, Norm Gage will face Attorneys Tara Hovey and Marcy Klaus in the Primary Election.

Gage was the Clare County Prosecutor from 1997 to 2008. He said he has life experience, common sense and (the) temperament to serve the people of Clare and Gladwin Counties. “As a Prosecutor, I handle child abuse and juvenile cases regularly…work closely with courts on paternity and support cases, including custody issues and have handled numerous mental health matters over the years.”

Hovey has been an attorney in Clare County for seventeen years and has handled thousands of cases, she said. “A Probate Judge should have real life experience in and out of the courtroom so that cases can be handled with understanding, impartiality and professional competence,” she said. “Additionally, a Probate Judge should have good management skills and the willingness to work hard so that cases can be handled quickly. It is truly the most important issues in people’s lives that you are handling when they are in a crisis. I decided to run for Probate Judge because I have the real life experience you can trust. Further I am confident that my work record has provided me with the skills necessary to be a good Probate Court Judge for the people of Clare and Gladwin Counties.” Tara lives in Clare with her husband, Kevin Franko, and their three children.

Klaus is a partner in the Allen & Klaus law firm and said she has practiced in Clare since 1999 handling family and probate matters. She grew up in Clare, and is a graduate of Michigan State and of Valparaiso University College of Law. She serves on Clare County Arts Council Board, is vice chair of St. Cecilia School Committee and a member of Clare Rotary and the Harrison Lions. “Since 99 I have worked almost exclusively in the areas of family and probate law. I am excited about the possibility of serving the citizens of our area by bringing my extensive experience to the probate bench.”

Clare and Gladwin Counties will chose between two for the 55th Circuit Court Judge in November. Circuit Judge Roy Mienk, seeking his second term, will face challenger Attorney and former Clare County Prosecutor Ghazey Aleck for the bench.

At Candidates Night Monday evening, Judge Roy Mienk said he is proud of his record in the Circuit Court. He said, “I strive to treat everyone with dignity and respect.” During his term, he said he started a program to collect back fines and unpaid restitution since 1986. As a strong believer in education, he said through classes at the jail, this year 21 jail inmates earned a GED and two got high school diplomas. He started a recovery program for those convicted of drug and alcohol use. He has been an attorney for 20 years and Circuit Judge for five and a half years.

Aleck said he is not running a traditional campaign. “I think the people need a choice and I believe that my candidacy provides a clear alternative. I have been involved in controversial issues over the years, not to make money but because it was the right thing to do and I think that proves that I have the strength to stand on principle. I have the ability to do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do.”