Judge David H. McKenna (HCP photo by Rory Ryan)
Judge David H. McKenna (HCP photo by Rory Ryan)
The Hon. Judge David H. McKenna has declared his candidacy for re-election as judge of the Hillsboro Municipal Court, seeking a fourth term on Nov. 7, 2017.

“I have too much hard work to complete to retire at this time,” Judge McKenna said. “Although I have been telling people for several months that I was planning on retiring at the end of my current term as Hillsboro Municipal Court judge, I have decided to file for re-election to a final term in office.”

McKenna said it has been an honor and a privilege to serve on the bench.

“Since first elected, it has been my honor and privilege to serve the citizens of Highland County as Municipal Court judge beginning in 2000,” McKenna said. “After presiding over more than 100,000 cases in the past 17 years, I believe that I have unmatched experience to continue the work. I am confident enough in the work I have done to invite voters to ask their friends in law enforcement if they support my re-election.”

Hillsboro Municipal Court was converted to a full-time court by the Ohio General Assembly in 2008. Prior to that, McKenna maintained a law practice in Hillsboro, which he began in 1991. He also has served as an assistant Highland County prosecutor for both the Common Pleas and Juvenile courts.

McKenna served five years in an administrative hearing office for the Department of Job and Family Services. McKenna also was an assistant commonwealth's attorney, prosecuting felony crimes in Louisville, Ky. from 1986-91.

McKenna graduated from the University of Louisville School of Law, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and attended the University of Kentucky School of Business. He has served as past president of the Highland County Community Action Board of Governors and the Highland County Bar Association, and is a former member of the City of Hillsboro Civil Service Commission and the Tax Commission.

“I had considered retirement recently for several reasons,” the judge said. “I will turn 65 this summer, and my children are grown. The work is still stimulating, and I often say that it is never boring. However, the heroin epidemic of the past few years has been a sea change in the world of criminal justice. I have been a prosecutor, defense attorney and now judge since 1985, the crisis with addiction and the criminal conduct that it generates, has overwhelmed law enforcement. The hardest part is watching the constant stream of people destroying their lives, abandoning their children and – frequently – dying. Years of dealing with it every day makes a person ‘battle weary.’

“However, it is not in my nature to quit when things get hard, just because I can,” McKenna said. “I believe we are making a positive difference in the lives of dozens of addicts who are struggling to recover their lives. In September 2015, we organized a treatment task force after the probation department obtained a $245,000 grant to develop a pilot program for heroin treatment. We have devoted thousands of hours to save families and lives. We are making progress. I want to continue that work. We are saving lives, and I need to save more.”

The Hillsboro Municipal Court has operated within or under budget for 17 consecutive years. It also was the first court in Highland County to establish Internet access.

“My clerks are dedicated, courteous and efficient, with a combined experience in excess of 75 years,” McKenna said. “We have an excellent working relationship with all local law enforcement agencies.”

McKenna has served 15 years on the Criminal Law and Procedure Committee, and 12 years on the Community Corrections Committee of the Ohio Judicial Conference. He has served 16 years as vice chairman of the Highland County Community Corrections and Re-entry Coalition, and is a stakeholder in the Rocky Fork-ASAP development grant.

“I have been and will remain committed to moving Highland County forward,” the judge said. “I ask for your support and your vote so that I may continue serving as your Hillsboro Municipal Court judge.”