Association to help sponsor candidate forums in July

Oakland County voters will soon have the opportunity to hear directly from judicial candidates in all upcoming primaries for Oakland County judgeships.

A series of judicial candidate forums will provide voters with the chance to hear the candidates speak about pertinent issues before the ballots are cast, according to Terri Ticknor Gilbert, executive director of the Oakland County Bar Association.

The forum for the 51st District Court in Waterford will be held on Tuesday, July 12, from 7-8:15 p.m. at the Waterford Township Hall, 5200 Civic Center Drive. The three candidates seeking the open seat are Andrea N. Dean, Todd A. Fox, and Mary M. Mara.

The forum for the 46th District Court in Southfield will take place on Monday, July 18, from 7-8:30 p.m. in the Southfield Public Library, 26300 Evergreen Road. The candidates include incumbent Judge Cynthia M. Arvant, Dorothy J. Dean, Kameshia D. Gant, Marc S. Herschfus, Eman H. Jajonie-Daman, and Devlin K. Scarber.

These forums are the result of a partnership – now in its sixth judicial cycle – of the Oakland County Bar Association, the League of Women Voters-Oakland Area, and The Detroit Free Press that sponsors forums in all contested judicial races in Oakland County.

The purpose of this partnership is to disseminate information about judicial candidates in their communities to help voters become more knowledgeable and informed, encouraging participation in Oakland County
judicial elections, according to Gilbert.

The forums are open to the public and are recorded so they may be aired on cable channels in the communities where the races take place. As soon as the recordings are available, they will be uploaded to the OCBA’s YouTube page at

Organizers note that this partnership is nonpartisan and the respective organizations will not support or oppose candidates prior to the candidate forum. The Detroit Free Press may or may not endorse judicial candidates preceding the elections. The partners of the judicial candidate forums strive to provide factual, nonpartisan information to citizens regarding candidates’ qualifications and views.

Each forum consists of two panelists – one from the Oakland County Bar Association and one from The Detroit Free Press – who ask questions of each of the candidates. A representative of the League of Women Voters moderates the forums. In each forum, the community is invited to attend and submit questions for responses by the candidates.

Additionally, all candidates have been asked to complete a Judicial Candidate Questionnaire. The completed questionnaires are available on the OCBA website at OCBA members and community citizens can read the questionnaires exactly as the candidates submitted them.