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Expanded Fayette magisterial district draws incumbent judge, 4 challengers

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Five candidates are vying for the six-year term of Magisterial District Judge 14-3-04 in the May 21 primary election.

District Judge Jesse Cramer of Belle Vernon is being challenged by are Kenneth Jaynes, Soni Shaner-Mancuso, Richard Kasunic II and George Stash III. All are Dunbar Township residents, and all have cross-filed.

The district was expanded to include the boroughs of Belle Vernon, Dawson, Dunbar, Everson, Fayette City, Newell, Perryopolis, Vanderbilt and townships of Dunbar, Franklin, Jefferson, Lower Tyrone, Perry, Upper Tyrone and Washington.

Seeking his sixth term, Cramer said his experience is an asset to the expanded district.

“People will come in with questions, and I will have answers because I have been doing this for many years,” Cramer said. “I feel that I have been doing a good job, and I would like to continue. I just received a perfect audit and that itself is very rare. I just feel that I still have a lot to give. I enjoy the job I do, and I feel that I am very fair and honest with everyone.”

Jaynes, 51, said he would bring more than 30 years of law enforcement if elected district judge. He called his experience a strong backbone to bring to the bench.

“I feel that my experience here (Connellsville City detective and department lieutenant) and my involvement and experiences in the community are what qualifies me to run,” Jaynes said.

He said he contributes to the community through coaching and participation in local organizations.

“I know people, and I know what issues we face. This all goes with my background in criminal justice. It's what I have been doing for the past 30-plus years.”

Richard Kasunic III, 39, said his years of working in supervision with the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and his family background in politics are his qualifications.

“I was involved with my dad's campaigns for years, and I grew up realizing the importance of public service,” Kasunic said.

He said if he is elected, he would like to bring programs to schools on truancy and speak to youths about the dangers of drugs.

“I think that it would also be important to establish a satellite office to make it more convenient. It's a lot of hard work, it takes a lot of time, and I will commit myself to do it, making myself available 24/7.”

Shaner-Mancuso, 39, said her years working as a mental-health therapist and a drug-abuse counselor, as well as her vast education, are her assets.

“I would be there for the common people,” Shaner-Mancuso said, citing her many years working with people in the community. “I represent the common people, and I feel that with my background I have a good feel for what drives people. I feel I would be as asset in the position because I am fair and unbiased.”

George Stash III, 36, has been self-employed for many years. He said his relationships with employees and employers have given him insight and qualify him for the position.

“”I believe that I am the type of person that looks at a situation and can make a fair judgment about it,” Stash said. “Through my years of self-employment, I have met some careful people, and I feel that I am a very good judge of character. I'm fair and open-minded, and I'm a people-oriented person.”

Marilyn Forbes is a freelance writer.

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