With ballot vacant, Wilmington woman seeks justice job

Hope Smith-Holzer (Photo provided)

Though she is a write-in candidate, Hope Smith-Holzer has launched a grassroots campaign to inform Wilmington voters of her candidacy for the town’s vacant justice seat.

There won’t be any candidate on the ballot for Wilmington justice when residents go to vote Tuesday. Timothy Kurtz vacated the seat when he resigned last December, town Supervisor Randy Preston said. Robert Kirby is currently the only presiding justice in the town.

Smith-Holzer, 37, seems to be the only person actively seeking the seat, Preston said Friday.

“I think the biggest reason is just being more involved in the community,” Smith-Holzer said Friday. “I’m involved in the community where I work and want to be more involved here.

“It’s just another way to get out there and help people,” she added, “to bring a little harmony and fairness to the community.”

She said she got a late start to the campaign after gaining late interest, but recently put together a flier and mailed it out to hundreds of Wilmington residents. She said she’s also promoted her candidacy on Facebook.

Smith-Holzer is a credentialed alcohol and substance abuse counselor for North Star Behavioral Health Services in Saranac Lake. She said she has 17 years of experience as an alcohol and drug counselor. She said her daily interaction with elements of the legal system and collaboration with judges and parole and probation officers has prepared her well to be a town justice.

Smith-Holzer has three stepchildren and a child with her husband Travis, who all live in Wilmington.