A former La Crosse County judge would like to serve in that job again.
Attorney Candice Tlustosch has launched a campaign for the spring 2023 election in Branch 1 La Crosse County Circuit Court, to succeed retiring Judge Ramona Gonzalez.
Why announce a campaign almost a year before the election?
“This is really one of those things that takes a lot of time,” Tlustosch told WIZM. “I think a lot of people don’t pay very much attention to the local judicial races, so I really kind of need that time to get out there are make sure people know what their choices are and what they’re looking at.”
Tlustosch was appointed judge in 2015 when Dale Pasell retired from Branch 5. She, however, lost in the election campaign that year to current Judge Gloria Doyle. She applied to succeed Gonzalez in the next election, but did not get an interview with the governor’s office.
Tlustosch said she has been getting great support for her decision to run for the court again, and recognizes that local judges are often criticized for decisions, such as letting crime suspects out of jail on bond, only to commit new crimes.
“When judges may have to make very difficult decisions, I think it’s important to look at the factors that they were required to use in making those decisions,” Tlustosch said. “One of the other most important things about being a judge is that we don’t get to advocate from the bench, right? We don’t get to litigate from the bench, either.”
Gonzalez officially retires in July after 27 years on the bench. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has not appointed a successor yet. The Branch 1 court seat will be on the ballot next April. Tlustosch continues to operate a private practice in La Crosse.