Becky Doherty is a Common Pleas Court judge for Portage County. She has served as a Common Pleas Court judge since the beginning of 2014 and is now running for re-election. On the Common Pleas Court, she started the drug court in Portage County. This was certified in March 2017 and recertified in 2020. KentWired did a quick Q&A with Doherty to fit in with other guest opinion pieces regarding the election.
Q: Why is it important for people to go out and vote?
A: It’s important on a federal and a local level; the folks that they vote for, whether it’s the County Recorder or a judge or the president. Everyone that people elect will have an impact in some way on their lives. And, I hear from a lot of people, “I’m not going to vote because it doesn’t affect me”, but it absolutely does. You need to have a judge on the bench, whether it’s a criminal case or a civil case, whether you’re a victim or somebody being sued. You want to have a judge on the bench that is going to understand and be able to deal with the complexity of the cases; you want commissioners in office who are working hard and going to best represent the needs of the community. You want a recorder who’s going to accurately take care of deeds and paperwork having to do with purchases of houses and I mean there’s just so many things that I get so aggravated when I talk to people who say, “I’m not going to vote it doesn’t affect me.” It absolutely affects you; the roads that you drive on have everything to do with the political (and) the folks that you have in office. So you know it’s just incredibly important if you live in any community. It’s important for you to vote for the people who will do the best job for you.
Q: Why is it important to vote both locally and federally?
A: I think because quite frankly, more importantly, your local elections affect you directly. Yes, on a federal level you’re — you’re affected by the congressional races and the presidential race. But locally, those are the people who are dealing with your day-to-day issues. They’re dealing with the commissioners (who) are dealing with the functioning of the county — the budget of the county. The judges are dealing with the crimes and the civil cases and the liability. Even if it’s a bad car accident, you're going to have a local judge dealing with it; the offices that you’re voting for on a local level can impact you just as much as the federal offices.
Q: What is some advice you give people as we reach Election Day?
A: I would hate to have people avoid the local election voting, just because they didn’t know enough about the candidates, and it’s very simple; even when you go to the polls, a lot of times there’s someone handing out information (on) a slate card so at least you know what party they’re affiliated with and that kind of thing. I would just really encourage people to know who they’re voting for before they go in and vote in a local way.
Sara Crawford is the opinion editor. Contact her at email@example.com.
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Hi, I’m Lauren Sasala, a senior journalism student from Toledo. I’m also the editor in chief of The Kent Stater and KentWired this semester. My staff and I are committed to bringing you the most important news about Kent State and the Kent community. We are full-time students and hard-working journalists. While we get support from the student media fee and earned revenue such as advertising, both of those continue to decline. Your generous gift of any amount will help enhance our student experience as we grow into working professionals. Please go here to donate.