First candidate steps up for seat on the benchThe first contender has thrown his hat into the ring for the seat currently held by Douglas County Circuit Court Judge Michael Lucci.
By: Maria Lockwood, The Daily Telegram
The first contender has thrown his hat into the ring for the seat currently held by Douglas County Circuit Court Judge Michael Lucci.
Kelly Thimm, assistant district attorney, announced today that he plans to run for the Branch I position.
“I decided it was a good time in my life for a career change,” he said. “I’m ready for it.”
Lucci’s term ends July 31, 2009. He confirmed today that he does not plan to seek re-election.
“This is my last term,” the judge said. “Twenty-four years on the branch — that’s a long enough stretch for me.”
Thimm, 36, has served as assistant district attorney for 11 years.
District Attorney Dan Blank called Thimm a “go-getter” who handles his caseload well.
“I’ve given him everything from the top to the bottom,” Blank said, from traffic matters and appeals work to prosecution stemming from the 2003 shooting death of Antwane Dixon in Superior’s East End. That case ended with four convictions — brothers Randy and Michael Dupuis, Walter Taylor and Roy Owens.
“He’s been an excellent assistant district attorney,” Blank said. “I think he’s served the county well.”
If Thimm does win the election, Blank said, “that will be a loss for our office.”
Assistant District Attorney Jim Boughner called his colleague “very diligent, very intelligent and very knowledgable.”
He said Thimm also shows good judgment.
“I believe he would be fair,” Boughner said.
Born and raised in Superior, Thimm received his bachelor’s degree in criminology and sociology from the University of Minnesota Duluth in 1994. Two years later, he received his law degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Thimm’s wife of 13 years, Saranae, said it was difficult for them to leave the area thinking they may never return. But Thimm snagged the assistant district attorney position one month after graduation.
“We were thrilled to be able to come back, to work and live in the community,” said his wife.
Bill Rehnstrand, Superior school board member and retired high school teacher, has known Thimm since he was in high school.
“He’s serious, he’s hardworking and he’s honorable,” Rehnstrand said. Not only is Thimm a member of the Optimist Club and a coach for the SHS Mock Trial team, he is also the father of three girls — Kearra, 9, Sidney, 7, and Kenlyn, 11 months.
“He’s rooted in Superior and Douglas County,” Rehnstrand said.
Thimm said he plans to bring the same integrity, fairness and enthusiasm to the bench that Lucci and Judge George Glonek do now.
“I’ll work hard,” he said.
If voters elect him in April 2009, he will have to work hard, according to Lucci.
“This is a job that demands a lot of time,” Lucci said. “For very hour on the bench there is more time than that involved” behind the scenes.
The judge declined to back any candidate.
“Judgeship is a nonpartisan position,” he said. “I’m sure there’s going to be some really capable candidates for this office. I have a high respect for all of them.”
One of those contenders could be Blank.
“I’m very seriously considering running for judgeship,” he said.
Douglas County Sheriff Tom Dalbec has thrown his support behind Thimm.
“I have worked with Kelly for more than 10 years now as a prosecutor,” Dalbec said in a statement. “I know his integrity and concern for our community. I am proud to be a part of his campaign team and I look forward to seeing Kelly on the bench.”
Nominations are accepted in December and must be filed by Jan. 6. Thimm said he wanted to express his intentions early. He plans to hold a series of events over the coming months to allow community members to get to know him better.
Thimm called the decision to run for the bench a “good fit.”
“My hope is to take the next step in my life,” he said.