The pending retirement of Magisterial District 56-3-02 Judge Bruce Appleton of Palmerton has triggered a four-person race in the May 17 Primary Election for the six-year term as his successor.
Appleton, who resides in Palmerton, was appointed magisterial district judge on May 1, 1986, elected in 1987, and re-elected in 1993, 1999 and 2005.
The district covers the lower Carbon County municipalities, including the boroughs of Palmerton, Bowmanstown and Parryville and the townships of Towamensing, Lower Towamensing, Franklin and East Penn.
Seeking the position are Brad Doll, Bill Kissner, Angela Stehle and Randolph Smith. All four candidates appear on both the Democratic and Republican ballots.
Doll, a resident of Palmerton, has been the borough's mayor since 2009, and previously served on the borough council for four years.
He has worked as a local part-time police officer, as a dispatcher at the county Communications Center and, most recently, was employed as a supervisor in the color department at Techna Graphics Service, Inc.
Kissner, a resident of Franklin Township, has been employed by the City of Bethlehem for the past 20 years. He currently holds the positions of detective/sergeant within the city's police department.
Stehle, also a resident of Franklin Township, has been an attorney for the law firm of Strubinger & Gazo, P.C., Palmerton, since 2004.
Smith, a resident of Bowmanstown, has been a member of the Palmerton Police Department for the past 30 years, and currently is the borough's police chief.
Two are unopposed
Meanwhile, two other magisterial district judges are seeking re-election to six-year terms of office. Both are unopposed.
They include Edward M. Lewis of Jim Thorpe, who is the MDJ in District 56-3-01, which includes the boroughs of Jim Thorpe, Lehighton and Weissport and the townships of Penn Forest and Mahoning; and Casimir T. Kosciolek of Lake Hauto, Nesquehoning, the judge in District 56-3-03, which includes the boroughs of Lansford, Nesquehoning and Summit Hill and the Township of Mahoning.
Carbon County's fourth district justice, Joseph Homanko, who presides over the northern municipalities in the county, is not up for re-election.