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First District Judge: Timothy Blakely, incumbent

The Judicial system is facing increasing cost pressures. Other than increased funding, what steps can be taken to increase efficiency in the courts and still afford individuals due process under the law?

We mustn't confuse the desire for efficiency with our constitutional mandate to provide effective justice. Budget pressures hit hardest in terms of case flow management; however, with technology gains and good fiscal responsibility through the Conference of Chief Judges, our courts will improve case flow without added funding.

Budget pressures also affect court participants and service providers, especially the poor, crime victims and public defenders. Our bench works tirelessly to minimize the impact of funding shortfalls on all groups; I support those efforts as shown by my 11-year record of careful, timely case dispositions with a weighted case load average of over 5,300 cases annually.

Do you support the judicial retention election system as recommended by the Quie Commission?

The preference of voters must be paramount in deciding how judges are selected. Judicial accountability after selection is equally important to our community. Because judges necessarily have an interest in this issue, I believe it is best that we judges listen to the voice of our constituents and not dictate which selection process is best.

Do you intend to seek endorsement and/or financial contributions from political parties and other special-interest groups? If so, which organizations/individuals have endorsed you?

As I have declared several times over my 11 years on the bench, to uphold the necessary level of impartiality, I decline to seek or accept endorsements or financial contributions from political parties or special-interest groups. Have trust and confidence that I will continue to reject all partisan influence as your judge.

Why are you running for office? What are your personal priorities?

People tell me I am fair, a good listener, and I help them solve their differences. I have appreciated this feedback, and my greatest desire is to continue serving our community. Recent efforts to politicize the judiciary present a danger to impartial courts. For 21 years as an enlisted man and officer in the U.S. Navy and reserve, I honored the oath to support and defend our Constitution, for all; I routinely exercised impartial authority. Everyone may rest assured that I will continue to work hard, listen, remain fair, and reject all partisan influences as your judge.

Briefly summarize your personal background and qualifications.

Retired from 21 years combined active and reserve Navy service, as an enlisted man, cryptology officer and intelligence officer. Honors graduate from Hamline University School of Law. I have served as judge for over a decade in our seven-county district. I have served as adjunct professor of law at Hamline, William Mitchell, and University of Minnesota law schools, teaching trial skills and judging law student trials. DARE, commencement, Memorial Day and Veterans Day speaker; seminar presenter for the Minnesota Fire Chief's Association; training presenter for the Office of Justice Programs, Crime Victim Services.