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Wednesday, March 13,2013

Election coverage 2012: Going negative

54B District Court race gets political

by Sam Inglot

Tuesday, Oct. 30 — In an email to his supporters, state Rep. Mark Meadows — who is seeking the judgeship of the 54B District Court — said even though his opponent has decided to distribute “negative” campaign materials, he won’t be doing the same.

“I have run for office nine times and I have not conducted a single campaign in a manner that tears down or attributes improper motives to my opponent,” the term-limited representative wrote in an email. “I am not going to start now.”

Andrea Larkin, Meadow’s opponent for the seat, sent out a campaign mailer claiming that Meadows “worked to scuttle term limits & perpetuate himself in office.” The mailer also insinuated that Meadows is running for the judge spot as a “back-up” plan after his stint in the legislature.

Meadows wrote in the email that he has always opposed term limits. He said in an interview that he decided to run for the 54B position when 22-year bench veteran Judge David Jordon said he would not seek reelection. Meadows said he had eyed the seat before but was “not interested” in running against Jordon.

Meadows, 65, is somewhat of a political household name in East Lansing, having served on the City Council as well as a stint as mayor. He says it’s his broad legal experience and depth of knowledge on city issues that give him the edge over Larkin.

“I have a much broader experience in law,” he said. “As assistant attorney general I’ve tried cases all over Michigan covering virtually every subject. I’ve drafted laws, I’ve interpreted laws — I’ve done all the things that provide me with a better background for the experience.”

Larkin believes Meadow’s political background is a problem for the position.

“He has written some of the laws he’ll enforce,” she said. “I think it’s better for a judge not to have been involved in the writing of those.”

She has also criticized the fact that Meadows could only serve one six-year term. She could serve up to 18 years if reelected, adding that, like the tenure of Judge Jordon, “time on the job is a real asset to the people of East Lansing.”

The term limit argument is one that Meadows said lacks “intellectual validity.” He said if term limits were an issue then no one would want to reelect Barack Obama. 

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