Meet the candidates

Franklin Co. Common Pleas
(Full term commencing 7-1-09; vote for one)

•Shawn Dingus, 141 S. High St., Columbus.

Occupation: Self-employed attorney with The Law Office of M. Shawn Dingus

Political history: No. This is the first time that I have sought election to public office. However, I have previously served as an assistant prosecuting attorney.

Education and/or military experience: B.A.; Morehead State University, Government;  J.D., cum laude; The University of Akron School of Law.

Goals if elected: I would like to see the court employ alternative methods to reduce its already overcrowded docket. I foresee this involving the participation of volunteer lawyers in Franklin County to assist the court in settling cases, as well as refocusing our Magistrates to assist with the civil docket.

Tell us why you’re the best candidate for the position: I will bring fresh and new ideas to the court, and will employ alternative methods to expedite the resolution of cases.  As an attorney who has been a prosecutor, defense attorney and civil litigator, I will bring a balanced level of experience to the bench, along with an even temperament.

•Richard S. Sheward, 7540 James River Close, New Albany.

Occupation: Judge, Franklin County Common Pleas Court

Political history: I have served as a judge in Franklin County for 22 years. I ran for office in 1985, 1987, 1990, 1996, 2002 and am now running for re-election.

Education and/or military experience: BBA, 1967, University of Miami/Ohio University; JD, 1874, Capital University; 1968-71, United States Army, Vietnam veteran.

Goals if elected: To continue my work on the Common Pleas Court bench in both civil and criminal cases. To continue my record, which I am proud of, and which the citizens of Franklin County can rely on.

Tell us why you’re the best candidate for the position: Experience! I have been a lawyer for 34 years and have served as a judge for 22 years. I was rated "highly recommended" by the Columbus Bar Judicial Screening Committee. I have been endorsed by the F.O.P., the AFL-CIO, Firefighters, Coalition of Concerned Citizens, and Building and Construction Trades Council.

Franklin Co. Common Pleas
(Full term commencing 2-9-09; vote for one)

•Lawrence A. Belskis, 1104 Circle on the Green, Columbus, OH 43235

Occupation: Franklin County Probate Judge.

Political history: Probate judge for Franklin County, elected in 1990, re-elected in 1996 and 2002.

Education and/or military experience: B.S. from Marquette University; J.D. from Capital University; National Guard 16th Engineer Brigade, specialist six to Brigadier General  Peletier, 1970-76.

Goals if elected: In my 18 years as judge and clerk of the Probate Court, I have observed tremendous growth in our case load and have worked with the Ohio Legislature to change probate laws to simplify and expedite the probate process. I look forward to continuing serving the community in this manner.

Tell us why you’re the best candidate for the position: Experience. I bring over 33 years experience including 18 years as judge, in probate, guardianship, trust, mental health, and adoption law. My peers elected me president of both the Ohio Association of Probate Judges and National College of Probate Judges. Our court’s reputation is an efficient, fair, and helpful court.

•Eric Brown, 34 W. Poplar St., Columbus, OH 43215

Occupation: Judge, Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, General Division

Political history: I currently serve as Judge of the Franklin County Common Pleas Court, having won election to a full six-year term in November 2004. I was first elected to public office as a school board member in 1977, and I served nearly 15 years (four terms) as a school board member of the Mayfield City School District (suburban Cleveland). I was elected Board President for six of those years and Vice-President for three. In 1987, I was honored by selection to the All-Ohio School Board. I left the school board in mid-1992 when I joined the Ohio Attorney General and my family relocated to Columbus, Ohio. I have run for public office six times, and I won election five of those six times. I have served the community and the public for more than 30 years.

Education and/or military experience: Advanced Science and Technology Adjudication Resource Judge. Selected to participate in ASTAR, a national program designed to prepare judges to preside overcases involving complex science and technology issues and to serve as a resource to other judges. Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio. Juris Doctor, 1979. Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio. Bachelor of Arts, History, 1975. Denison University, Granville, Ohio, 1971-72. Mayfield High School, Cleveland, Ohio, 1971, with honors.

Goals if elected: I know the law. More importantly, I understand the impact that probate court decisions have on families. I will work to make probate unnecessary for many and quicker, easier and less expensive for all of us. I will promote simple legal planning to help preserve the independence of many elderly.

Tell us why you’re the best candidate for the position: Highest integrity and right experience. Judge and lawyer for nearly 30 years. One of the first lawyers in Ohio to serve the legal needs of the elderly and their families. Substantial probate law experience. Dedicated public servant: Elected official for 18 years. Devoted husband of 35 years, father and grandfather.

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