Poland wins Kent judge seat

Doug Gulasy

Ravenna mayor to fill Plough’s spot in Jan.

Ravenna Mayor Kevin Poland has a new job: Portage County Municipal Court judge.

Poland won the race for the Kent branch of the Municipal Court. He gained 32.45 percent of the vote, followed by Tommie Jo Marsilio (29.64 percent), Becky Doherty (25.27 percent) and Paul Brickner (12.64 percent).

The final results came in just before midnight.

“It’s been a long night, and it’s been a long campaign,” Poland said. “It’s certainly nice to have it finalized, and I certainly appreciate the support of the voters.”

The 48-year-old Poland will replace current Kent branch Judge John Plough, who did not seek re-election. His term will begin Jan. 1, 2010.

Poland has served as Ravenna mayor since 2006 and as acting judge for the Portage County Municipal Court for more than 10 years. He also has held a private law practice in Ravenna for 23 years and has experience as Ravenna City Council president and Portage County assistant prosecutor.

Poland said he thought his experience and community involvement ultimately won him the election.

“I think that most people certainly appreciated how I’ve held myself as mayor,” he said.

Municipal court handles more cases than any other court in the county. Last year, the three municipal court judges heard a combined 30,000 cases.

Poland said he is eager to begin his term. He said he wants to “restore some confidence and respectability” to Portage County Municipal Court throughout the community.

He said he also wants to work with the university to improve the court’s relationship with students, which has been rocky in the past.

“I think the first thing is treating people with dignity and respect and listening to all sides of cases before you make decisions,” he said, “and I think that I’ve been willing to do that in the past.”

Contact public affairs reporter Doug Gulasy at [email protected].