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Recently Magisterial District Judge Thomas Capello decided to resign from his position which is now vacant for someone to fill it. What does it mean to be a district judge and who can run for this position?

Read More: City MDJ Thomas Capello to resign in January

A magisterial district judge is:

The first level of judicial authority in Pennsylvania and is the court where most people experience the judicial system for the first time. Magisterial District Judges handle all traffic cases, minor criminal cases, and civil cases involving amounts up to $12,000. Magisterial District Judges also set bail and conduct preliminary hearings in misdemeanor and felony criminal cases to determine if the cases should be dismissed or transferred to the Court of Common Pleas for further proceedings. (Lancaster County Courts)

Not that money should be your deciding factor BUT, the annual salary of a district judge is $93,338 and the training for this position is only four weeks and it is supposed to be done before the election time comes up.

Thomas Capello was in that position for three decades, but now it is time for someone new to step up and take up on that position. What do you need to qualify for this position? Something that anyone interested should know is that you do not have to be a lawyer to be eligible for this position as long as you’ve taken the training and passed the test. To hold this position, you have to be:

  • At least 21 years of age
  • A resident of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
  • A resident of his/her magisterial district for a one-year period prior to election (Lebanon’s 4th, 5th, 8th, 9th, and 10th wards)
  • Certified by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts as successfully completing a rigorous training and education program administered by the Minor Judiciary Education Board

What happens after you get the necessary training and education program needed to qualify? You will have to run a successful campaign and win the votes of your community members to be able to become the next district judge.

We need someone of good character, and someone who is connected with his or her community. The reality is that we need different people willing to do this, we can’t afford having only one option. That is why I want to call upon those community members who have a desire to work for the community. I want to call upon the next generation to step up and bring a glimpse of hope and a set of unbiased eyes to go through the training and run for this important position.

I have heard plenty of times that many of the public office’s positions are being held by the same group of people because no one is opposing them, but that must change! I want to call upon the young adults of Lebanon County to become more involved with their communities, to ask questions like how you can participate in local events, or ask your local officials what they are really doing to represent their communities as a whole and not only a segment of it.

Lebanon County is roughly 14% populated by Hispanics and as a Hispanic I do not feel like our local officials represent us at all. We need more representation – we need people that care about everyone in Lebanon County.

I believe in our younger generation and I want to see you thrive, it is your time to step up!

Amauary Abreu is an aspiring entrepreneur and social activist who lives in Lebanon.

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