By Frank Lewis
Tears filled Alan Lemons’ eyes as he talked about an aspect of his bittersweet victory in the race to win the Republican nomination and thus the position of Scioto County Probate and Juvenile Judge. Lemons, the magistrate under Judge James Kirsch has had to basically operate that court in Kirsch’s frequent absence brought on by a prolonged illness. He reflected on that scenario.
“As happy as I am for winning, I am sad because this is another step toward the end of Judge Kirsch’s career,” Lemons said. “I would have preferred that his health would have been fine and that he would have run again. I could have served another six years as his magistrate easily and not had a complaint.”
Kirsch will complete his term at the end of 2014.
Lemons defeated fellow Republican Municipal Court Judge Russell D. Kegley, 2,231 to 2,059; and while the race was still extremely close, Lemons received a gracious telephone call.
“Russ called me. I had just pulled up and got out of my truck at the courthouse and the last thing that they had said was that there was still, I think 120 difference and lots of precincts were not in,” Lemons said. “It surprised me when he called and he said, ‘congratulations.’ He was very gracious and very nice. The two of us ran clean campaigns and I told him that was my intention. And we were friends and we will remain friends. And one of the things I told him was that I knew he always wanted the job, and but for a couple of terrible events happening, I had never dreamed of the job.”
Those two terrible events, the deaths of law partners John Berry and Jim Fitch. That left Lemons with no law partner, and he went looking and found the job of magistrate in Kirsch’s court.
“I fell in love with the job and I know he likes the job too, but I decided to run,” Lemons said. “I kind of feel bad for him because I took something from him that he has wanted. He was very gracious and very nice.”
Lemons said he would also like to focus on something he has started Family Reunification through Recovery Court. He said that court is needed because of the large drug problem in Scioto County.
“There is a form of court that will deal better with it than the way that we have always been doing it,” Lemons said. “I’m going to start that court and get that running with the judge’s help and get that on its way. All kinds of people have volunteered to help be part of that.”
Lemons talked about a cycle that he says needs to be broken — a cycle of babies born drug-addicted.
“They are repeat offenders. They’ll have a drug baby. They’ll have a child born addicted and withdrawing,” Lemons said. “And by the end of the case, they don’t get that child back, but they’re already pregnant and still addicted and they’re going to have another one. And then another one. We’ve got to stop that cycle.”
Lemons said he spent much of the evening picking up campaign signs in his truck to work off nervous energy from his first-ever political campaign and said he didn’t relax until the final numbers were in.
Frank Lewis can be reached at 740-353-3101, Ext. 252, or on Twitter @FrankLewispdt.