As campaign chair for Ed Leister, Democratic candidate for Judge of the Orphans' Court, I want to encourage Democratic voters to give him a first-place finish in the Primary and all voters to place him among the top three finishers in the General Election.

Perhaps a bit of history is in order. Orphans' Court is the historical name, given in 1777 by the Maryland General Assembly, for the court that handles wills and estates. (Lord Baltimore brought to the Chesapeake Bay colonies the City of London's Court for Widows and Orphans.) In Maryland, the Orphans' Court is the state's probate court, having jurisdiction over guardianships of minors and supervising the handling of estates of people who have died, with or without a will, while owning property/assets in their sole name without named beneficiaries or heirs.

Certainly in an era of increasingly complex estate issues, a Judge of the Orphans' Court needs to be a person of exceptional skill. Leister is a person with extensive and intensive financial expertise, demonstrated by his education in business and banking, his 37 years in personal and commercial banking and 10 years in financial services. He also has spent 50-plus years in community service dedicated to improving and enhancing peoples' lives: helping to found the retirement community Carroll Lutheran Village; serving as president of Carroll County Food Sunday for three years and working to make the charity financially stable, to name a few.

Leister is vice-chair of the Commission on Aging and Disabilities, where he offers advice on issues facing the increasing aging population and those with disabilities, including our veterans. He is also a member of the Carroll County Property Tax Assessment Appeals Board, where he evaluates tax assessment appeals based on financial and legal constraints. He is therefore very comfortable making decisions that are fair and equitable according to the law.

And that of course is the test of an Orphans' Court Judge: in administering an estate, the judge must follow the law. Leister will follow the law. His banking and financial career and his community service demonstrate integrity, honesty and dedication, all integral qualities for the position of Judge of the Orphans' Court.

Vote for Leister for Judge of the Orphans' Court.

Hermine Saunders