Candidates faced off Thursday night in State College in a League of Women Voters debate. One of the most hotly contested races this fall is for the opening on the Centre County Court of Common Pleas.
Both Republican Ron McGlaughlin and Democrat Brian Marshall say they support a drug court and restorative justice. They agree on the need to address the opioid crisis. And both say the court system needs to be cleaned up.
What the candidates say sets them apart is their experience. Both candidates have worked in family and criminal law, but McGlaughlin says he has criminal trial experience Marshall lacks.
“I have the most experience by far in the areas that most often come before a court,” McGlaughlin said. “My opponent acknowledged the last time we were here in front of the League of Women Voters that in his career he’s never done a jury trial.”
McGlaughlin has been practicing law for 31 years, Marshall for 16. He pointed to his specialized training.
“My financial background as a certified public accountant, as a certified divorce financial analyst. I’ve pursued training in mediation, training in collaborative law,” Marshall said. “I think that’s what distinguishes me from my opponent.”
Marshall is currently president of the Centre County Bar Association. McGlaughlin is a past president.