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Two seek new Franklin County district justice post

October 24, 2003|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Democrat Douglas Furness and Republican Kelly Rock are working hard to become the first District 7 district justice in Franklin County, Pa.

The winner in the Nov. 4 election for the new district justice seat that was created this year will earn a salary of $60,000 a year and will have an office and staff. The term runs for six years.

Both candidates are running old-fashioned, door-knocking campaigns, relying more on personal contacts with voters than blitzing their campaigns with money.

Both are making their first try for an elected public office.

Furness, 38, of 155 Wilkson Lane, Fayetteville, Pa., and Rock, 37, of 101 Elm St., Mont Alto, Pa., spent four weeks in June taking and passing the mandatory district justice qualifying course provided by the Minor Judiciary Education Board in Scotland, Pa.

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Passing the course means the winner will be qualified to assume the post when it becomes available in January.

The new office brings to seven the number of district justices in Franklin County. The new justice will hear cases from residents in Guilford and Quincy townships and the Borough of Mont Alto, Pa.

For the last five years, Furness has been teaching government and economics classes in the Carlisle Area School District. Before that he was an aide to state Rep. Jeff Coy.

He has a master's degree in public administration, he said.

"I teach government. This position became available and now it's time to practice what I've been preaching," Furness said. "Democracy only works if good people who feel they have something to offer get involved."

"Clearly I'm not doing this for the money," he said. "Public service is important to me."

Being a district justice involves judgment, Furness said.

"It's important to have a grasp of the law and the operation of government. It's about judgment in your community," he said.

Government and justice run in Rock's family.

Her grandparents served as justices of the peace in Franklin County.

"Having grandparents who held the same office taught me long ago that there's no such thing as a minor case. All cases are important," she said. "Everyone deserves to have their case treated with respect."

Rock, a library aide at Waynesboro Area Middle School, said she's running because she can put the time and effort into the job with honesty, fairness and integrity.

She said she feels that as a district justice she'll be able to make a difference in people's lives.

"Some people who come before a district justice have no direction in their lives. They've not been taught right from wrong. It's not just about making them pay a fine and go, but it's also about trying to help them, maybe by putting them in the right program," Rock said.

Each candidate is married and each has two children.

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