Yackel, Russell Vie for Bench in Lincoln County Submitted: 03/29/2013
MERRILL - Voters across Wisconsin will pick the next State Superintendent and Supreme Court Justice on Tuesday. But several places have local races, as well. Lincoln County has an opening for one of its two Circuit Court judges. John Yackel and Rob Russell will be on Tuesday's ballot in Lincoln County. Both candidates for Circuit Court Judge say experience is what sets them apart most from their opponent.

But what kind of experience do you want? "I'm the only one in this race that has made decisions and had to sentence individuals to prison," Yackel says. "I'm the only one in this race that has done what a judge is supposed to do." Yackel has been on the bench since his appointment by Governor Walker last September. That was to fill a hole after Judge Glenn Hartley retired. "The voters now have the opportunity to make this decision. They haven't had this opportunity before," Russell says. Russell is a Lincoln County native, and returned to Merrill in 1992. "I've been practicing law here ever since. I have a little over 20 years legal experience," Russell says. Russell points out that Yackel didn't even live in Lincoln County until his appointment six months ago. Russell views that as a mark against Yackel. "I guess the voters are going to decide that. I'm originally from Hayward. I was born and raised with the same Northwoods traditions and values we all share," Yackel says. The campaign has been almost like a second full time job for each candidate. "It's been very busy, very stressful, but at the same time, very rewarding because of the people I've met and the places I've been," Russell says. "I have been getting to know as many people as I can since I took the bench. In the last two months, we've been putting up signs, knocking on doors, doing lit drops, doing interviews," Yackel says. So who has the advantage going into Tuesday's general election? "I don't think either side knows how it's going to go," laughs Yackel.

Story By: Ben Meyer

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