By Karen Stokes
With the Spring election in approximately two weeks, voters are seeking information on the candidates.
On March 15, The Milwaukee Bar Association hosted a forum featuring the two candidates running for the Wisconsin Court of Appeals District 1, incumbent William Brash and Sara Geenen.
The forum was moderated by Pulitzer Prize winning reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Dave Umhoefer.
Incumbent Brash has an extensive resume; he’s worked in law for 23 years before he began working in the circuit court. He became a municipal judge which he served in that capacity for 13 years. He stepped down in 1997 and served as a trustee for the Village of Fox Point for three years. In 2001 he became the circuit court judge for Milwaukee County which he served for 14 years. In 2021, he was appointed to the court of appeals.
Geenen, a labor employment law partner for 16 years, focuses her practice on labor law, bankruptcy and employment law. Before going to law school, Geenen was a field organizer and worked to help elect former Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle.
The candidates discussed what special qualities differentiated them from their opponent.
“This court system is all about people and resolving conflicts and disputes that they may have, it’s a matter of being patient and understanding and developing knowledge of the law and at this point, I have vast major experience,” Brash said. “Those are the things I have that brought me to the bench. I’m always well studied, well prepared, and I spend time continuously upgrading my knowledge.”
Geenen, sees herself as an outsider with a fresh perspective.
“It’s my job to help regular people, regular folks vindicate their rights, make their workplaces better and to protect their rights at work. I’ve practiced in dozens of courts across the country, administrative bodies, both the state and federal, various administrative agencies, and I am incredibly proud of my work,” Geenen said.
The moderator asked the candidates to describe their judicial philosophies. Brash said he applies the laws established by the Legislature, state Supreme Court and the state and U.S. constitutions to the facts of each case.
Geenen said she always thought judicial philosophy is one of those labels that doesn’t say much. She views courts as a check and balance to the Legislature.
Early voting started March 21, Election Day is April 4th.