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Lawrenceburg attorney Maire Hellard is looking to take a step up from her status as attorney and trial commissioner in Anderson County to that of family court judge.
Hellard, along with Shelbyville attorney Susan Meschler, is challenging incumbent John David Myles, elected in 2007, for the seat of family court judge in the 53rd Judicial District.
Family Court judge is a non-partisan seat, but with more than two candidates there will be a primary to determine the two who will face off in the General Election.
A lifelong resident of Lawrenceburg, Hellard, 52, has specialized in family law for nearly two decades.
This is her first time running for office, and she cited a desire to do her part to help families with sensitive custody issues.
“I felt called to become the next family court judge, and after much prayerful consideration, accepted the calling,” she said. “I have climbed through the ranks of family law issues by first being a party in proceedings to become the custodian/guardian for my nephew, niece and great-nephew. They each came from torn families and need a safe and loving home. So, I truly understand how people who come before a family court judge feel in these situations.”
She says she believes her experience as an attorney specializing in family issues has prepared her for the role of family court judge.
“I went to law school, and became an attorney representing people in divorce, custody, dependency, neglect and abuse, domestic violence and other issues, and gained a tremendous amount of experience at that level of the court,” she said. “I have also served as trial commissioner for Anderson County for several years now and sat in for district court judges, and so I have experience as a sitting judge. I believe that this foundation gives me the experience that is needed for family court. “
Hellard said she believes that understanding and empathy with family issues makes for a good family court judge, qualities that she says would help her if elected.
“I understand first-hand that family court is a place of great emotional strife,” she said. “You need a judge who is compassionate, caring and humble. It must never be forgotten that a judge is a servant of the people, and there is no room for pride or arrogance on the bench. My family background ensures that I remain humble in all aspects of my life, and that I never forget that I was once a party in these types of proceedings. I will do my utmost to ensure that every person who would come before me is treated with dignity and respect.”
Hellard is a member of Hope Community Church, a former board of director’s member for Avenues for Women; a former member of the Anderson County ad hoc committee, CASA; Equine Assisted Therapy Program; a member of the Kentucky Bar Association; a member of the 53rd Judicial Circuit Bar Association; a member of the Franklin County Bar Association; A member of the Anderson County Bar Association and Phi Beta Kappa.
PARTY: Family Court Judge is a non-partisan race
CURRENT ROLE: Attorney/trial commissioner for Anderson County
EDUCATION: BA in English from University of Kentucky, Luris Doctor in law from the University of Louisville
FAMILY: Husband Allen Hellard, who has two children – Lindsey and David – and she raised three children – Brad Gaunce, Lorie Watts and Joshua Darnell – and five grandchildren.