Laurie Shaw will face off against Bradley Graham and John Lee in the Feb. 18 primary in New London and Weyauwega for the position of municipal judge.
Shaw is a lifelong resident of New London, graduating from New London High School in 1987. She continued her education at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in communications with minors in organizational communications and sociology and an emphasis in business.
While no legal degree or legal background is required to hold the municipal judge position, Shaw feels her work experience and community involvement make her a qualified candidate.
Shaw has never been arrested or charged with a criminal offense.
“I feel that it is my obligation as a citizen to personally contribute to the success of our community whenever possible. For over nine years, my work experiences at Rawhide Boys Ranch allowed me to view multiple aspects of family dynamics and the legal system and their effects on juveniles and adults,” said Shaw. “It is crucial for juveniles and adults to be made aware of the significance of being law-abiding citizens at their first interaction with the legal system. It is our best opportunity to intercept poor behavior and hopefully attain positive long-term outcomes.”
Shaw, who currently serves as the executive director of the New London Area Chamber of Commerce, said she would continue to work for the Chamber if she is elected judge. “The judge sets the court schedule, and the Chamber schedule is very flexible. I plan to stay on with the chamber; (the municipal judge position) is something to work into my spare time,” stated Shaw.
Shaw is also involved in several groups and organizations, including Emanuel Lutheran Church, New London Girls Youth Softball, Thrivent Financial, New London High School – School of Enterprise Marketing and Guidance Services Programs, Junior Achievement, New London Rotary, New London Lions, Wolf River Area Healthcare Foundation Board of Directors, Washington Center Board of Directors, multiple fundraising benefits, Fehlberg Veterans Memorial Ride, New London’s Beautification Committee and New London’s Economic Development Committee.
“When elected into office on April 1, the new municipal court judge will have one month of training with the existing judge prior to him leaving the bench,” said Shaw. “I have personally taken it upon myself to have a good understanding of general court processes so that I can serve effectively immediately upon election.
“I have attended 17 of the 18 court sessions since July 25, 2013. I have also observed court sessions in the surrounding communities: Hortonville, Clintonville/Marion, Shiocton and Grand Chute. I personally met with each judge and clerk to discuss the processes and procedures of their courts as well as discuss their organizational processes. I’ve also talked to the New London police chief and I have done ride-alongs with police officers,” said Shaw.
“I have spent well over 70 hours researching, observing and asking questions related to our current court processes. I observed the only municipal trial held locally since July on Oct. 24, 2013. I plan to continue observing all court sessions until the April election to increase my knowledge base,” she stated.
“Going into court, no matter the issue, can be a stressful event for any citizen,” said Shaw. “It is vital that the person dispensing and administering justice knows and understands the municipal court system and the communities they serve. Serving as judge for the municipal court will give me the opportunity to make a positive impact on a juvenile or adult who may be having an interaction with the court system. I believe that the municipal judge should encourage positive behaviors so that we can put people on the right path.
“The juvenile community service coordinator position—created by Judge Resch—is currently held by Pat O’Brien, who does a phenomenal job reaching into the lives of repeat offenders to intercept them and get them on the right track,” said Shaw. “He is the liaison between the court, juveniles, and the school. He pulls them together and creates accountability. We are very lucky to have that.
Shaw’s vision for the municipal court is to improve efficiency.
“Judge Resch and his staff have created a good foundation, but it needs more efficiency. I plan to use my organizational management skills as well as technology to make the court as effective and efficient as possible. I will strive to modernize the court’s operations in favor of those who use it and the taxpayers who pay for it,” she said.
“Initially, there will be a huge time investment. To be a true leader, you need to understand the entire function. If elected, I will spend endless hours to gain an understanding of all of the processes and procedures so that we can do our best. I will attend training days and invest in continuing education. I will also keep up with reading and other materials the judge reviews outside of court to stay abreast of the current issues and laws.
“I feel that my community involvement and the preparation I have taken give me the experience needed to fulfill the municipal judge duties,” concluded Shaw. “If elected, I will administer the law in a clear, fair, firm and consistent manner. We need to send a clear message to people in court.”