A court reporter’s view of judicial race

I have been involved in the justice system for many years, as a court reporter.

I was a court reporter for Judge Harold V. Froehlich for 18 years in Outagamie County and most recently, a court reporter for Judge Philip M. Kirk in Waupaca County for seven years. While working in Outagamie County, I often came to Waupaca County on assignment and that is how I met Assistant District Attorney Vicki Taggatz Clussman.

Court reporting gives a person a unique perspective on trials, attorneys and the justice system. You see the attorneys up close for hours, sometimes days, and you get to know their true character. Vicki has always impressed me as well prepared, knowledgeable and fair in her appearances in Waupaca County. She is always respectful to people and as a result, has earned the respect of others. Vicki’s excellent reputation has been earned day in and day out over the course of 27 years.

This election really comes down to two factors: Vicki’s strong ties to the community and her skill set as a trial attorney.

Vicki Taggatz Clussman has tried over 100 jury trials and is an accomplished trial attorney. Vicki has lived in Waupaca County for 27 years. The other candidate moved to the county less than 60 days ago. It is not just about geography. When you know someone over the years, and see their competence and dedication, you learn to trust that person and have confidence in them. I have confidence in Vicki’s legal abilities and know she will be a great judge.

I don’t know much about Mr. Steckbauer. I have never seen or heard of him trying a jury trial in Outagamie or Waupaca County. I only know what I read about him in last week’s paper and from listening to him at the candidate’s forum on March 12 in Manawa. The forum was taped and is available for anyone to listen to it at the www.wintvwaupaca.com.

In the newspaper article he made personal attacks on Vicki; his conduct was demeaning to the office of circuit judge. At the forum, his answers ranged from brash to arrogant. He prided himself on his ability to settle cases. Perhaps he should be a mediator; judges try cases. He made the statement that after practicing law for 20 years in Dale, Wis., that there was not any area of the law that he didn’t know. No attorney worth his salt would make such a statement.

You will be the judge on April 1. Listen to the tape of the candidates’ forum if you have time. Or ask someone who has worked in the courthouse. I am confident you will decide to vote for Vicki Taggatz Clussman.

Thomas J. McNamara