Melissa Byers-Emmerling seems prepared to be the next judge of the Columbiana County Court of Common Pleas.
Her resume says so: two decades as the East Liverpool Municipal Court judge.
Her confident attitude says so: Byers-Emmerling has a clear picture of how a court should be run.
Her opponent, Scott Washam, has his own credentials: 20 years in private practice, much of it spent in Pleas Court, a stint at Lisbon village solicitor plus the last three years as magistrate in the Juvenile Division of Common Pleas.
In that position, Washam hears cases mostly involving families and children, an ever-growing and important facet of the court system. In that, he has the perfect personality: calm and contemplative, not impulsive.
Yet, Byers-Emmerling's experience in the nuts-and-bolts Municipal Court system seems better suited for what awaits in Common Pleas.
Although she speaks passionately of her close association with the late chief justice of the Ohio Supreme Court, Tom Moyer, and her opportunity to argue a case before the state's highest court, it is her work in East Liverpool that defines her.
There, with just a few staffers, Byers-Emmerling ran a smooth, competent court. Some of her achievements in Municipal Court, such as the litter patrol and the drive program to get people licensed and insured - both great programs - may not carry over into Common Pleas where the crimes and criminals are more severe.
But she has dealt with plenty of those crimes and criminals through the years.
Scott Washam is a competent attorney, capable magistrate and a quality person, but it is Melissa Byers-Emmerling's experience, and attitude, that win her the Morning Journal's endorsement to be the next judge of the Court of Common Pleas.