Public defender joins Franklin County judge race
MALONE — Thomas Soucia will seek election to a vacant seat on the Franklin County Court bench following Judge Robert G. Main Jr.’s retirement.
Soucia, the Franklin County public defender, said he has handled thousands of court cases over the past 20 years.
Soucia, a registered Democrat, has worked as a public defender since 2007 and was a child support attorney for the Department of Social Services in Franklin County from 2000 to 2007. He ran for a Family Court judge position in 2014, but voters chose Derek Champagne instead.
“When you’ve been public defender for a number of years, you look at the fact that maybe you can do more as a county court judge,” Soucia said in a prepared statement.
In addition to his work in Franklin County, Soucia worked as a public defender in Micronesia, an island nation in the western Pacific, from 1997 to 2000, was in the U.S. Navy’s Judge Advocate General’s Crops from 1989 to 1995, and served on the USS Cape Cod during Operation Desert Storm.
According to Soucia, prior to his time in the military he volunteered in the Peace Corps, working in African nation of Lesotho from 1981 to 1984.
“My life, and being a veteran and being a Peace Corps volunteer, I think gives me the experience to make a very good county court judge,” Soucia said in a prepared statement, “I know what it is like to be poor, I know what it is like to make sacrifices, and I know what it’s like to go out there to take care of a family.”
Soucia has three children, one who is disabled, and said he believes he can bring sympathy and understanding to the county court bench, both of which he believes are integral to any judgeship.
“Sometimes we need to work to make our situation better, and I think I have the experience to do that,” Soucia said in a prepared statement, “I think this will put me in a position to really do something good.”
According to Soucia, he believes a county court judge needs to make tough decisions, but compassionate ones as well.
“My life has been dedicated to the service of others, and this is a natural step for me so I can continue my service to others,” Soucia said in a prepared statement, “I don’t have any regrets for what I have or haven’t done in my life, but in looking at this, I realized this is probably my last chance to do it.”
Soucia graduated in 1981 from Siena College in Loudonville before graduating in 1989 from Vermont Law School in Royalton, Vermont.
The process of circulating petitions for the open seat on the county bench starts Tuesday, March 2.
Soucia is the fourth candidate to enter the race for the open county judge seat and the 10-year term that comes with it.
If all four candidates receive the required number of petition signatures, there will be two Republicans and two Democrats up for vote during the June primary.
In addition to Soucia, Craig Carriero, a Democrat, and Elizabeth Crawford and Peter Dumas, both Republicans, have announced their candidacy for the county court bench.