Meet the Town of Monroe town judge candidates

| 05 Oct 2017 | 01:59

By Nancy Kriz
— This year's election for Monroe town justice is the only contested election this campaign season.
Given that it's the only contested election, along the recent controversy surrounding Lurlyn Winchester, former town justice, The Photo News asked Bruce Robert Furbeck and Audra Schwartz to respond to three questions regarding their candidacies in order to give voters as complete of a picture of who they are and what they stand for as election day nears.
BackgroundFirst, some background of the candidates, in alphabetical order:
Bruce Robert Furbeck:
Furbeck has 23 years of law enforcement experience as an Orange County deputy sheriff and as a New York State trooper. He was born and raised in Monroe, and grew up working in his family's service station business.
Furbeck is also a 30-year member of the Monroe Fire Department and has also worked as an auto mechanic and commercial vehicle operator.
Retired from the state police, Furbeck currently works for the Monroe-Woodbury School District Transportation Department. He has been endorsed by the Police Benevolent Association of the New York State Troopers.
He is the married father of one daughter in a home which includes three dogs.
Audra Schwartz:
Schwartz, a married mother of two sons, is a 15-year Monroe resident and has been a seven year Town Planning Board member, including as its current chairperson, and was a member of the town’s Conservation Commission for five years.
Additionally, she has been a district representative for the Monroe Democratic Committee for eight years.
Schwartz, a New York licensed attorney with 23 years of experience, has been endorsed by United Monroe, the Monroe Democratic Committee and the OC Latino Democratic Committee. She is also a foster provider for feral cats through local animal shelters.
QuestionsIn your opinion, what are the top two court/legal issues and/or concerns affecting the community and how will your experience successfully address those issues?
Furbeck: Any circumstance involving any individual brought before the court is a serious concern for the town as ultimately it affects the community in some manner.
The local drug use epidemic accompanied with the related associated crimes of robbery, larceny, and assault are concerning. Drug addiction requires treatment, but those committing crimes because of it also need to be held accountable. We need to keep our town safe.
A second concern, in conjunction with our ever increasing traffic, is vehicle and traffic law offenses. The police must implement enforcement and it is the responsibility of the court to address violations, firmly. A strong court can assist in keeping our roadways safe for our families.
My law enforcement background provides the ability to identify the severity of the event, the causes and the affects the outcome may have on the community.
Schwartz: Our Town Court must focus on taking advantage of programs addressing drug addiction, domestic violence, and veterans’ and mental health issues. In my law practice, I’ve helped victims who are facing these serious, devastating problems and I’ve seen firsthand the affects these issues have on Monroe.
Because of that experience, if I am elected, I will be committed to not only administering justice but also making sure that vulnerable Monroe residents are referred to services that can result in real change.
What are your top two professional credentials which make you the best qualified candidate and why will those credentials ensure your court would function optimally and fairly and make you the best candidate?
Furbeck: I have an Associated Applied Science degree in Criminal Justice and I graduated from the New York State Police Academy as a certified New York State Trooper. During my career I completed progressively responsible experience rising from the ranks as Trooper, Investigator, Sergeant, Station Commander and Zone Sergeant. Management, supervision, administration, and tremendous courtroom experience were all my proven responsibilities. I intend on utilizing my past skills, abilities, and insights to successfully run the court.
Schwartz: My law degree and experience as a general practitioner make me the most qualified candidate. The Town Court deals with traffic violations and certain criminal matters, civil/small claim disputes and landlord/tenant cases. I’m qualified to handle both, the criminal and civil, sides of our Town Court. I earned my doctorate of law after completing years of advanced courses in evidence, criminal law, contracts, property and constitutional law. For over two decades, I’ve resolved cases involving all of these areas of law. I am a skilled litigator, knowledgeable in courtroom procedure. I regularly represent complainants and defendants. I understand the emotions and interests of both sides. I do not have a bias toward either. Whether you are a complainant in a civil case, the arresting officer in a criminal matter, or a defendant in either, you will be treated knowledgeably, fairly and impartially by me if you elect me as your Town Justice.
Why would your knowledge of and involvement in the community assist you in your judgeship role?
Furbeck: Utilizing my local law enforcement experience, I am familiar with our diverse community. I interact routinely with our local residents, whether it is on the school bus, a fire truck or previously a police car. Always remaining fair and impartial I have assisted our neighbors with determining their issues and with solving their problems. I always have been and continue to be a successful mediator, a great listener and an excellent, fair and impartial decision maker.
Having a strong knowledge of the law accompanied with acute common sense and discretion, I have always been able to promote justice and keep our community safe. I will bring that knowledge, involvement and experience to the bench as your judge.
Schwartz: Through my involvement in the community, I’ve learned what Monroe residents truly want, need and deserve (but have not always had) are qualified, ethical government officials that work hard for everyone.
Residents from all walks of life routinely approach me with questions about town government and local issues because I’ve proven that I will listen and treat them respectfully and impartially.
I’m honest, fair and knowledgeable. I have the strength to do the right thing even when it’s hard and I get things done because I care.
These attributes will make me an effective Town Justice.