Candidates step forward for family court seat

By Ashley M. Casey

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill June 26 adding 25 new family court judge seats across New York state in 2015. One of those seats is coming to Oswego County, which currently only has one family court judge.

County residents will have the chance to elect the new judge in November, and the Oswego County Republican Committee (OCRC) will select a candidate for endorsement next week.

“There’s been a backlog of cases,” Michael C. Backus, chair of the OCRC and Oswego County clerk, said of the state’s decision to add more judges.

“We had heard rumblings about this several months ago,” Backus said. “It was bandied about in Albany.”

Backus said several candidates who had been “theoretically contemplating running” came forward to the OCRC for consideration once the legislation became official.

“We had a town and city meeting. Five of the candidates came and talked to our committee,” he said. The OCRC holds quarterly meetings to keep local leaders involved in Republican happenings.

Jim Eby, Salvatore Lanza, Thomas Benedetto, Ed Izyk, and Eben Norfleet are the five Republican candidates who came forward to address the committee, which is made up of nearly 300 local volunteers.

The OCRC will decide whom to endorse at their meeting at 6 p.m. July 9 at the Eis House, located at 144 Academy St., Mexico.

“We’re committed to making sure this is an open process,” Backus said. “I very much encourage all the candidates to speak individually to all the town and city (officials).”

For more information about the OCRC, visit, or follow @OswegoCountyGOP on Twitter.

Michael Kunzwiler, chair of the Oswego County Democratic Committee, said the committee is talking to some potential Democratic candidates for Family Court judge and will probably endorse a candidate at its next meeting at 6:30 p.m. July 17 at the Sweet Memorial Building in Phoenix.

For more on the Democrats, visit

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