WHITE TO SEEK VACANT DISTRICT JUDGE SEAT
Lays out "Five-Point Plan" if elected, pledges to run a clean campaign
Jesse White, a 36 year-old attorney from Cecil Township, has announced he will seek the Magisterial District Judge seat left vacant by Judge Valerie Costanzo last year.
White, who has operated his own law practice in Cecil since 2004, intends to cross-file on both the Democratic and Republican tickets in the May 19, 2015, Primary Election. Magisterial District 27-6-03 includes Cecil, Mt. Pleasant and Robinson Townships and McDonald Borough.
White cited his unique and extensive experience, which includes eight years in the state House of Representatives, eleven years of private legal practice, serving as a Cecil Township Supervisor and Auditor, and legal experience as a judicial intern, as qualifications for the office.
“As an attorney, I have represented clients in front of Magisterial District Judges countless times, and I not only understand what the job requires, but also the virtues that make for a good judge,” White said. “I also believe my eight years serving on the Judiciary Committee in the House of Representatives gives me a unique perspective on how the law is supposed to be applied in real-life situations.”
If elected, White said he intends to take a pro-active role in the community to make the district court more accessible and address resident concerns. At the top of his “Five-Point Plan” is greater access for the community, which includes offering regular evening and weekend hours for people who need access to the courts but are restricted by their work schedule.
Another top priority for White will be addressing the drug problem in the community, specifically the critical issue of heroin abuse.
“As someone who knows what it’s like to see family members struggle with drug addiction and recovery, I want to take a hands-on approach and work with local law enforcement to see how we can better handle these cases,” White said. “We need to get serious about drug addiction at the very first sign of trouble to avoid increased criminal activity, drug dealers setting up shop in our towns, and seeing young people robbed of their future. We can be tougher and we must be tougher to fight the heroin problem in our community.”
White also stressed his plan to provide information and resources for residents who need to use the court system, highlighting the thousands of case files that his constituent service offices annually handled during his tenure in the House of Representatives.
“While a District Magistrate cannot give legal advice, the office can certainly provide legal information and resources to people who need it,” White said. “You shouldn’t need a law degree to understand your basic rights and how the legal system works, and if elected my office would provide these important tools for the community to utilize.”
The next point of White’s plan is respect for everyone who comes through the door of his Courtroom.
“As a legislator, it was no secret that I often shown my passionate and aggressive side while fighting for my constituents and community,” White said. “However, I understand that a judicial role requires a different and more measured approach, which is what I plan to bring into the Courtroom every single day. My Courtroom will be one of respect, fairness and justice, with no strings attached.”
The final point of White’s plan is a common sense approach. “As a practicing attorney, I have been fortunate to gain experience with many different cases in many different settings,” White said.
“What people want, and what they deserve, is a common sense approach to their problems. As a judge, I will strive to use common sense to apply the law in a way that is just and fair for all.”
Acknowledging the negative tenor political campaigns can often take, White has pledged to run a clean campaign with no attacks on any of his opponents. “There is no better indicator of a candidate’s character than how he or she conducts themselves during a campaign,” White said. “I intend to earn the support of the voters by working hard and focusing on my qualifications and experience, not by resorting to direct and indirect attacks against my opponents. I challenge my opponents to join me in this commitment to not only avoid these negative tactics, but to denounce and disassociate with anyone resorting to attack politics on their behalf.”
White is a 2000 graduate of Washington & Jefferson College and a 2003 graduate of Duquesne University School of Law. In 2013 he was chosen to attend an intensive course at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University for leaders in state and local government.
White is licensed to practice law throughout Pennsylvania and is also licensed in Federal Court in the Western District of Pennsylvania. He interned for the late Judge David Gilmore of the Washington County Court of Common Pleas, worked for Davis & Davis in Uniontown as well as a legal intern for the United Steelworkers of America in their Pittsburgh office.
Since 2004, White has operated his own law firm in Cecil Township, handling cases in virtually every area of the law including child advocacy in CYS cases, family law, criminal law, contract law, real estate and commercial transactions, estate planning and administration, bankruptcy law, personal injury law, business organization, oil and gas law, and civil litigation.
In 2006, White was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in the 46th Legislative District. He was a member of the House Judiciary Committee for his entire tenure in the Legislature, serving as a Chairman for the Family Law Subcommittee. He also served on the Labor and Industry, Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness, Aging and Older Adult Services, Consumer Affairs, Agriculture and Policy Committees.
White was also Vice-Chairman of the Southwestern PA delegation of the Democratic Caucus and was named the “Humane Legislator of the Year” in 2013 for his work on animal rights legislation. He consistently earned an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association for his strong support on Second Amendment issues.
Jesse lives in Cecil Township with his wife Eileen, their son Atticus, two dogs (Abigail and Delano) and two cats (Molly and Woodrow). Jesse and Eileen are expecting their second child in August 2015.