By Peter Kusnic
Though home to Columbus’ large LGBTQ+ community, Franklin County has elected surprisingly few out individuals in countywide office. North Linden resident Jeff Mackey, an openly gay man, hopes to increase that number this November with his run for Franklin County Probate Judge.
Endorsed by local organizations including the Stonewall Democrats of Central Ohio as well as the national Victory Fund, Mackey would be the first openly LGBTQ+ judge elected in the county. The Buckeye Flame chatted with Jeff Mackey about his candidacy.
What inspired your run for Probate Judge?
I have 38 years of legal experience practicing in the area of probate law, and I believe I could do an excellent job as the Franklin County Probate Judge. I am the endorsed Democratic candidate. I’ve also been highly recommended by the Columbus Bar Association Judicial Screening Committee, which is their highest recommendation. I have been endorsed by the Stonewall Democrats of Central Ohio, and my race has now received some national attention with the endorsement of the Victory Fund.
What past experiences will best serve you in this role?
After graduating from the Ohio State University College of Law, I [went on to gain]38 years of probate law experience, 34 of those in front of the Probate Court of Franklin County. I have practiced law in front of many courts in Ohio, and I’ve seen how judges operate. That experience will serve me in this role.
What will your priorities be if elected?
I want to continue to serve the residents of Franklin County. In particular, I believe the large Franklin County Probate Court staff of 75 employees could use more diversity. I would like to see the staff of the Probate Court look more like my neighbors in Linden—which is a very diverse, largely African American, Hispanic, and New American community where I’ve lived for nearly 20 years—and also [bring]more LGBT employees on the Probate Court staff.
If elected, you’d be Franklin County’s first openly LGBTQ+ elected judge. What does that mean to you?
I think it would give a role model to a lot of LGBT individuals in Franklin County and show that they could also serve in public office.
- Learn more about Jeff Mackey’s bid for Franklin County Judge by visiting his website or Facebook page.
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Peter Kusnic is a writer and editor based in Cleveland, OH.