CRAWFORD COUNTY — Long-time Galion attorney Debra Garverick, a Democrat, wants to be the next Crawford County probate-juvenile court judge. She is running against Republican Patrick Murphy on Tuesday’s ballot.
Garverick, 62, a Galion resident, said her husband passed away recently and she has many nieces and nephews she cherishes. As an attorney, Garverick’s focus is probate, estates and real estate.
“I do a lot of banking law and earlier in my practice I did a lot of other areas, but then things got so busy I kind of had to limit it,” she said. “But I used to do a lot of Guardian ad Litem work in the juvenile court. I still do a little tax and that kind of stuff, but I kind of limit it to probate and real estate now.”
Garverick has been an attorney 37 years. She attended Ohio Northern for undergrad and law school.
“I was law director for the City of Galion for about a term and a half. That was an appointed position at thetime,” she said.
Garverick said she has thought about running for probate/juvenile court judge for many years. But she said she would not run against Steve Eckstein because she thought he was one of the best judges the county could possibly have had.
“But when he aged out to run again, that’s when I decided the time was right,’ she said. “I have the experience that would make me a good judge and I have what I call judicial temperament, I think. That means you’re a little bit easy going and willing to listen to both sides and don’t get out of shape too easy. I have the ability to look at and consider both sides of an issue, and I think over the years I’ve exercised good judgment and I think I bring that to the table.
“Clearly we have many issues to deal with and quite frankly, COVID-19 has made those issuesa bit worse, with people crammed into a small space for a long period of time,” she said. “Tempers can get a little bit short and things can get out of hand. But as far as the kids, I see so many grandparents raising their grandkids these days. I don’t think we have a lot of programs available to help grandparents. The parents … it’s often an addiction issue that results in children being taken away. For the parents, they have parenting classes and addiction programs. They have places they can turn to, but (resources) for the grandparents are very limited.
“I’d like to see more programs helping them through this stage in their lives as they are doing things they didn’t expect to be doing at this stage in their lives,” Garverick noted. “That is kind of high on my agenda.”
Garverick said it is hard to say exactly how she will proceed if elected.
“Steve Eckstein did a really good job,” she said. “There are always improvements that can be made and I’d like to touch base and maybe get more people pulled together who have been out of the loop a little bit. We need to network more with the schools, the police … the people who are involved with these kids. Maybe get things turned around before they get to my courtroom. There’s usually a number of issues and problems that bring people and families before the court. Of course the first thing is keeping kids in a structured environment where they can thrive. Once the kids are in a safe spo,t then we focus on the family and see what we can do to help these folks.
“I think I will be a good judge,” she said. “I think I will be fair and impartial with everyone who comes before me. My campaign was based on the color purple, which is an equal mix of red and blue because judges have to be fair and impartial with everyone. I think I have the ability to do that. I think I have compassion toward kids and families that require compassion, as well as a firmness for those who need something other than compassion.
“We have to remember this isn’t just a juvenile court, it’s also a probate court. Part of what I want to do is make that probate process less burdensome for families. I’d like to not make a lot of necessary court appearances. In my mind you shouldn’t have to go to probate court unless something is going wrong. If things are going smoothly and the families are getting along, the courts should stay out of it.”
Garverick said she has a strong commitment to volunteering and trying to make life better for other people.
“I do pet therapy visits with county auditor Joan Wolfe. We take my Irish wolfhounds and go to assisted living facilities. At least we did before COVID and everything shut down. I’ve been on the board of the Crawford County Humane Society, the American Cancer Society. I am currently on the administrative council for St. Paul United Methodist Church. I’m on the board of the Galion Community Foundation, the board of the Galion Port Authority, and I’m an associate long-term care ombudsman for the state of Ohio. I’m involved in a lot of different things and I have a real strong commitment to giving back.”