Judge Kim Hoover has spent the past 18 years on the municipal court bench. He has been a strong presence, often innovative, at times controversial, most recently during the dustup that led to his running this year as a nonpartisan candidate, thus avoiding a Republican primary. In all, he has performed well, and has earned another six-year term on the Stow Municipal Court.
We recommend the re-election of Kim Hoover on Nov. 5.
Hoover played the leading role in moving the court from Cuyahoga Falls to Stow. The past several years, he has directed much attention to getting the court established in its new location. That has not been easy, especially in view of the Falls responding with its own mayor’s court, diverting cases and revenue from the municipal court. Of late, the court mostly has moved past such bumpiness, having substantially reduced its debt.
If financial challenges remain, Hoover talks about focusing again on new programs for the court. He has been an early innovator, for example, through the minor marijuana and underage alcohol diversion programs. As part of community service sentencing, he has offenders growing vegetables that are made available for food assistance. Most recently, he has moved to launch a program to help young people make basic decisions about how they present themselves to aid their chances of success. He also has a program for theft offenders.
Hoover knows the court must improve its technology, including its dated website, to become more efficient and serve customers better. That would fit into what has been a forward-looking court, and the larger record of a judge who consistently has looked for ways to improve.
The other candidate in the race is Kandi O’Connor, who ran unsuccessfully for Summit County Common Pleas Court clerk a year ago. She has worked the past 14 years as a judicial attorney in the common pleas court, long with Judge Patricia Cosgrove (who retired) and now with Judge Amy Corrigall Jones. Smart and steady, O’Connor has been part of the court’s effort to update its technology. She recognizes the importance of alternative sentencing. She does not have a persuasive argument for removing Judge Hoover.
The Stow Municipal Court covers 16 communities in northern Summit County, including Tallmadge, Hudson and Macedonia.