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Chester County Press

Kohler announces run for Common Pleas Judge

12/20/2022 11:31AM ● By Steven Hoffman

Kennett School Board member Don Kohler announced his candidacy for Chester County Court of Common Pleas judgeship at a gathering on the steps of the high school on Sunday.

Kohler, 55, of New Garden is the owner of and practices law out of his firm in West Chester.

In front of about 30 supporters on a chilly morning, Kohler, with his family behind him, outlined his credentials for the office and named the members of his election committee.

The Chester County Court of Common Pleas is a general jurisdiction trial court located in West Chester, There are 14 full-time judges and three senior judges. The judges hear a wide spectrum of cases, including adult and juvenile criminal prosecutions, lawsuits involving money or property, divorce, custody disputes, child support issues, adoptions and estates, according to the court’s website.

Judges are elected to a 10-year term. Following the end of that first 10 years, they are on the ballot for simply “accept” or “reject” continuation of their position

Kohler currently serves the school board as a member and chair of the policy committee. He was selected by the board in October of 2021 to fill an unexpired term from Region 3 (New Garden).

His term on the school board is scheduled to expire in December 2023, and he said he will not seek re-election to that position.

He began his speech on the steps by informing his audience that five judge spots are open for election in 2023 out of the body of 14.

“Twenty-one other attorneys intend to run,” he said.

He said he is a registered Republican, but will cross file in the primary, as judges and school board candidates are permitted to do. The primary election will be held on May 16, 2023.

“My point today is to say why I should be considered for Common Pleas judge,” he told those gathered.

His first expression of gratitude was to his wife, Kim, and children Meghan, Shannon and Patrick. He said he put himself through undergraduate education, and Kim worked with him on achieving the law school degree.

He is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University with a major in political science and a minor in liberal arts. He earned his law degree at Widener University School of Law.

His personal history includes growing up in Northeast Philadelphia in a middle class family and accompanying his father as a child on a milk delivery route.

He stressed that his involvement in the community and hard work will enable him to provide a  “fair and complete review” of all cases.

Having lived in the community for 19 years, he has been heavily involved in the activities of his family, including Boy Scouts, church and sports coaching.

In that connection, he said spending time to support his family prompted his delay in pursuit of a Common Pleas judgeship. Now, he said, the children have achieved some degree of independence, and this is a more appropriate opportunity.

Kohler listed the accolades he has received from his 26 years in the law profession. Some of them include having been voted the top lawyer in Main Line Today, leadership positions in the Chester County Bar Association, membership in the Chester County Bar Foundation, and service on the New Garden Zoning Hearing Board, among others.

“If you elect me, I will be ready to serve on Day One,” he concluded.