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Longtime judge faces a fight for last term
By ANITA KUMAR
© St. Petersburg Times, published June 30, 2000
CLEARWATER -- It has been almost a quarter-century since Pinellas County Judge Karl Grube faced opposition in an election.
But Clearwater lawyer Kandice Friesen has filed papers to do just that.
A county judge since 1976, Grube, 54, has presided over cases dealing with traffic, criminal misdemeanors, local ordinances, dissolutions of marriages and some felonies.
Grube, who has served on the county bench longer than any other sitting judge, is running for his seventh and last term.
"I've devoted my entire life to law and the administration of justice," he said. "I think I am able to provide the people efficient, conscientious, intelligent justice."
Friesen, 41, an assistant public defender for 15 years, said she has planned to run for office for years. She said she considered opposing each of the judges running but decided to go up against Grube.
"We need judges who will work hard, be fair and respect the views of all parties," she said. "I've been thinking about it a long time and I decided I needed to go ahead with it. I think I would certainly meet the qualifications."
Friesen said she has enough accumulated vacation to take time off starting July 21.
Nineteen circuit and county judges will be elected in Pinellas County on Sept. 5.
County judges are elected to six-year terms and earn $117,000 annually.
Only Grube and County Judge Myra Scott McNary face opposition so far.
Grube graduated from Elmhurst College in Illinois and earned a law degree from the Stetson University College of Law.
Before he was elected, he was a city attorney in Redington Beach, an assistant public defender and an attorney in private practice.
As a judge, Grube said he lobbied the state Supreme Court to establish mediation sessions for small-claims cases and night hearing officers for traffic court.
"We give many people their first and most lasting impression of how our system of justice functions with respect to them as individual citizens," he said. "County court is the real People's Court and presiding here is a real privilege."
Grube lives in Treasure Island with his wife.
Friesen attended the University of Florida for undergraduate studies and law school. She said she has worked on 108 felony jury trials and 30 misdemeanor jury trials in the public defender's office.
"Having spent my entire career in a courtroom relating to victims, law enforcement, jurors, prosecutors, judges and defendants, I have the experience and perspective to be a good judge and do a good job for all the citizens of our county," she said.
Friesen lives in Clearwater with her husband.
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