Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Politics

Hillsborough County Judge | Group 10, Shelton Bridges v. Miriam Valkenburg

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Hillsborough County Judge | Group 10

This race for an open seat has drawn two candidates to replace retiring County Judge Dick Greco Jr. Shelton Bridges is an attorney for an insurance firm, and Miriam Valkenburg is a managing partner in her law firm.

About the job: County judges serve a six-year term and are paid $138,020 a year. They hear traffic, misdemeanor and civil cases concerning sums of less than $15,000.

Shelton Bridges

Profession: 

Attorney

About the candidate: 

Bridges, 43, grew up in Tallahassee. He began his career as an assistant public defender in Hillsborough County in 2000. In 2006, Bridges joined the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office as a prosecutor. Since 2011, he has practiced as a civil litigator for Liberty Mutual Insurance.

Education: 

University of Florida, B.A., history, M.B.A., J.D.

Why are you seeking judicial office? 

"I am seeking judicial office because I strongly believe in the importance of public service. I have the temperament, experience, and wisdom befitting a judge. A judge sets the tone for the entire courtroom and I will be a judge who is polite, calm, and circumspect. I will treat all people with dignity and respect."

Please describe your community work.: 

"For more than 10 years I have been a very active volunteer at Hyde Park United Methodist Church. I have taught children's Sunday school for more than 10 years and have facilitated multiple long-term and short-term studies with adults. I am a member of the Hillsborough County Bar Association, where I serve on the Professionalism and Ethics Committee."

How has your legal career prepared you for this job? 

"I have practiced law nearly 16 years as a prosecutor, a criminal defense attorney, and a civil defense attorney. I have tried more than 100 cases in front of juries. During the first 11 years of my career I was in court virtually every day, giving me significant insight into the daily administration of a courtroom. My trial experience, legal acumen, and years of daily work in a courtroom have prepared me for public service as a judge."

Assets/liabilities/income: 

Assets: Home, car, retirement account Liabilities: Mortgage, loans, Chase account Income: N/A

Personal: 

Single

Campaign fundraising: 

Contributions: $ 54,956 Expenditures: $ 48,104

On the web: 

www.BridgesForJudge.com

Miriam Valkenburg

Profession: 

Attorney

About the candidate: 

Valkenburg, 45, is currently a shareholder and partner at Valkenburg & Velez, PA in Tampa. Prior to starting her own firm, she was a prosecutor for the 13th Judicial Circuit, handling cases in both juvenile and misdemeanor court. She has completed more than 700 hours of Pro Bono service since 2009.

Education: 

University of South Florida, B.A., English; Stetson University College of Law, J.D.

Why are you seeking judicial office? 

"I am running for County Court Judge because I believe in service. As an attorney, I have been president, vice-president and served on boards of many different organizations, provided free legal services to those in need and co-founded a non-profit. I would like to further serve my community as a county court judge. For me, being a judge is not just about being on the bench but also about meaningfully contributing to our community."

Please describe your community work.: 

"One of my charitable contributions has included providing free legal services to members of our community that could not otherwise afford the services of an attorney. It is because of my continued passion for the law and community service that I co-founded a 501(c)(3) non-profit agency, "Are You Safe, Inc." in 2009."

How has your legal career prepared you for this job? 

"Throughout my legal practice, I've had the opportunity to litigate a wide array of cases ranging from criminal, to civil litigation to family law. I have a clear understanding of the rule of law and the judicial process because of my extensive experience. It is precisely this level of experience and diversity that will allow me to run an efficient docket while rendering decisions that are based on the facts, the evidence and the law."

Assets/liabilities/income: 

Assets: Home, two cars, investment Property: Commercial property located in South Tampa, Business Assets: Law Firm, IRAs, retirement account, investment accounts, mutual funds, money market accounts Liabilities: Student loans, mortgage Income: $108,872.92

Personal: 

Married to Jason Valkenburg , one child

Campaign fundraising: 

Contributions: $88,805 Expenditures: $ 48,909

On the web: 

www.Miriam4judge.com

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