If name recognition were to be the sole standard by which elections are won, Mr. William Hileman’s long presence in Whitefish, his name displayed on a law office building in downtown Whitefish and on seemingly countless front yards, would make him a shoo in. The standard in this election, however, and as Mr. Hileman no doubt would agree, properly should concern intellect and experience in the job at hand.
In that regard, both candidates appear as accomplished lawyers and, although I have no I.Q. test results, smart enough for the job. But, missing from Mr. Hileman’s pedigree is courtroom experience comparable to that of Kristi Curtis. In the course of 40 years largely spent defending and prosecuting all manner of misdemeanor and felony cases, it became clear to me that the experience level of the judges before whom I appeared was important, if not critical, to fair, well-run pre-trial, court trial, and jury trial proceedings.
As Ms. Curtis has explained, she worked for many years in a civil litigation firm in California before coming to Whitefish with her husband and their two children 17 years ago. After arriving here, she began work in the city attorney offices of Kalispell and Whitefish, where it was her job to prepare for and to try many hundreds of court trials and jury trials. That experience is, I believe, a prerequisite for efficient and fair administration of the volume of legal cases to be arriving in our city court in the future. That experience also provides the tie-breaker in Ms. Curtis’s favor, a powerful indicator of who is the best candidate for the job.