The candidates running for Clay County judge and coroner positions answered questions at Tuesday's political forum, which took place at the YMCA and was sponsored by State Farm Insurance and the Clay County Chamber of Commerce.
The forum featured Clay County Coroner candidates Amy Shelton and Joel Reinoehl, Clay County Superior Court Judge candidates Blaine Akers and Robert Pell and Clay County Circuit Court Judge candidates Joseph Trout and James Deal.
The candidates were asked to tell the voting public why they deserved their vote.
"This election is not about who wants to be judge, this election is about who is the most qualified to be judge," Akers said. "I handled nearly 25,000 cases in my 13 years. I have been in the trenches with the people in the court."
Akers added he is a compassionate individual who has worked closely with families.
He also instituted several programs for sentencing and rehabilitation.
Pell said, as a challenger, he too has experience from his time in circuit court.
"When I was there I think I did a good job, and I'd like to continue on with that," Pell said.
Pell said it was important to keep the court process moving forward and he feels he has the ability to make the tough decisions to keep the court system moving smoothly.
Trout said he also has plenty of experience and he keeps informed on the laws that are constantly changing.
"I have had extensive experience in family law," Trout said. "We have to go to school and we've had education on family law. The parenting guidelines have changed, the child support guidelines have changed and the laws constantly change. I feel like I have a general knowledge of the law -- that I bring to this job -- (which) has benefited the people of this county."
Deal said his experience is a strong asset for him as well.
"I have vast experience in all areas that come in front of the circuit court," Deal said. "In fact, just this week I was in front of Judge Trout one day spending time on a guardianship issue, and the next day I (handled) a foreclosure action. I've done collection cases and I've done adoptions -- I am very familiar with all those aspects. I've done all kinds of civil practice, I've had a general practice of law."
Deal said with his 30 years of experience, he is ready to go and wants his first shot at becoming judge.
Shelton -- who currently serves as deputy coroner -- said there's a great working environment in the coroner's office, and added she has training she feels helps set her apart.
"I have bereavement training, which is useful in our office," Shelton said. "That has helped many, many families throughout the last four years."
Reinoehl said he and Shelton are both great candidates and added it was important to vote.
"I appreciate the vote, but either way, Clay County and the Clay County Coroner's Office will be covered come Jan. 1, whoever is chosen," Reinoehl said. "That's a great thing to be able to say and believe. Yes, I really want your vote."