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Incumbent to face challenger for county judge post

Judge Myra Scott McNary wants another term to continue serving as a role model for young people.


© St. Petersburg Times, published June 21, 2000

CLEARWATER -- Pinellas County Judge Myra Scott McNary will run for re-election this fall.

McNary, a six-year veteran, said she wants to serve another term to continue working with the community and being a role model for young people.

"I think the test of an incumbent is job performance," she said. "I think I serve a valuable role in the judiciary."

McNary, 40, was appointed by the late Gov. Lawton Chiles in 1994. She won re-election in 1996, trouncing Palm Harbor attorney George Sanchez.

"I think I bring many things to the bench, including diversity," she said.

Of the 55 Pinellas-Pasco circuit and county judges, McNary is the only African-American woman.

The most recent poll of lawyers taken by the Clearwater Bar Association rated McNary the lowest overall among county or circuit judges. Nearly 12 percent of the 121 lawyers who ranked her said she shouldn't be retained on the bench.

Nineteen circuit and county judges will be elected in Pinellas County Sept. 5. McNary is the one judge so far to garner opposition.

County judges are elected to six-year terms and earn $117,000 annually.

McNary graduated from Alabama State University and earned a law degree from Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Before her appointment, she worked as a staff attorney for Gulfcoast Legal Services, a legal aid agency for the the poor. Later, she worked as an assistant county attorney for Pinellas, handling eminent domain cases, mortgage foreclosures, collections and representing the Sheriff's Office personnel board.

She and her husband, LaVaughn, live in East Lake with their four children.

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