Saturday, October 21, 2006

Why I care about who gets to be Probate Judge

There is one political race that may touch your life in the most dramatic way: that’s the race for Probate judge. There’s only one candidate in St. Clair County who will do a good job: that’s John Tomlinson.

Find his website at

Let me tell you what it means to be a Probate judge. You deal with the mentally ill, the developmentally disabled, the criminally insane, the parentless children, the widows and widowers, and thanks to the wisdom of our Supreme Court, you also deal with divorces two days a week. You deal everyday with people in crisis, sad people, sick people, our most vulnerable neighbors.

That means that judge decides who gets locked away for treatment even though they are too sick to know they need it, who gets the kids, how much child support should be paid, which heirs get the money, how much money a surviving spouse can live on, who needs a guardian and what sort of powers does that guardian have, and who takes care of the money if someone can’t manage their own.

It takes a special kind of person to be a good Probate judge, and there aren’t, sadly, that many good ones. John Tomlinson will be one of the good ones, but he needs you. Now.

Don’t get me wrong.

Every political decision is an important one, every vote counts. But your vote for Probate judge can literally save your life. Did I mention the Probate judge also has the power, if asked, to make end of life decisions for you?

I was the chief clerk of Probate Court for five years, and in June I left that job to move to Ann Arbor with Ben and take a new job with the Friend of Court. But my sister, nephew and brother in law still live in St. Clair County. The best friends of my life still live there. If I died or became unable to care for Ben, my sister Emily would be Ben’s guardian, and I’d want John Tomlinson watching over that. If my dear friends Linda or Jackie or Phil or Nunu or Bev or Janice or Monica or Bill or Matt became disabled, I’d want John Tomlinson to supervise their guardians and conservators. And I want John Tomlinson to be the judge who oversees my friend Mary Beth’s estate.

John Tomlinson knows and cares about real people. He worked at Community Mental Health for a number of years before becoming a lawyer. He has a developmentally disabled adult sibling. He’s the child of divorced parents, he’s been there. He’s served as conservator, personal representative, trustee, and guardian for many people. He's warm and smart and kind and funny. He’ll make a terrific judge and he’s earned it.

If you’re still not convinced, email me, or leave a comment, and I’ll respond in 24 hours. Even though I don’t live there, I am helping John. I am not a person who is given to hyperbole (well at least not every day!) but this vote could save your life, or the life of someone you know, like a little kid or a gravely ill elderly person.

If you only cast one vote this year, make that your vote for John Tomlinson for Probate Judge.

1 comment:

Word Imp said...

You sound so interesting. I don't know much (anything) about law but I do appreciate you joining the gang which is regularly visiting my Word Imperfect blog. I've really enjoyed your entries. It's so hard to pick winners! I really liked your one today for Threnody. Just wanted to mention that, since I didn't pick it as a winner. I'm an older mum too. I'm 47 now and had my first child 10 years ago. It's tiring being a mum at our age - even harder for you I expect, but worth it. All the best.