Circuit Court Judge, Division 1 Candidate
I am Michael Flory, and I am running for the office of Judge, Monroe Circuit Court 1. Let me present the qualities and work experience that make me uniquely qualified to serve in this position.
I have 22 years’ experience as a government attorney—13 years as an assistant city attorney in the City of Bloomington, and nine years serving as County Council attorney here in Monroe County. During these years I have gained a broad range of legal experience:
-I drafted various ordinances, such as the City’s requirement that one percent of monies spent on capital improvements be spent on public art; oversaw major revision of the City’s Historic Designation Ordinance, and the City’s Property Maintenance Code. Along with County Council member Sophia Travis, I worked to develop the County’s Community Services Grants ordinance and policies, bringing transparency and openness to the granting of over $100,000 annually to not-for-profits that contribute mightily to the quality of life in Monroe County (more on this later).
-Handled the legal work for the innovative public/private partnership that constructed the 7th and Walnut Street parking garage, business facility and fiber optic station.
-Worked with the City of Bloomington Historic Preservation Commission to establish conservation districts in areas such as McDoel Gardens and Elm Heights, to protect established neighborhoods, and help others experience a turnaround.
-I was the lead attorney on the Dvorak case that went to the Indiana Supreme Court and upheld the constitutionality of the Bloomington zoning code definition of family that helps keep neighborhoods surrounding Indiana University as vital residential areas for traditional families, both working class and professional, and for Indiana University students.
-Oversaw projects that greatly contributed to the quality of life in Monroe County, from expansion of the Cascades Golf Course, to structuring the receivership of an unsafe structure at 723 East 10th Street, such that it is now a safe and attractive residence in a highly visible neighborhood.
-Developed blueprints for Memoranda of Understanding with county tax abatement recipients that provide for clawback of benefits from any recipient who does not comply with promised benefits. These MOU’s have been well received by the businesses and the parties trying to bring quality jobs to Monroe County.
My work at the County has given me first-hand experience assisting seven elected officials, who have worked effectively across partisan lines to craft County budgets that stretch limited resources to provide support for county services ranging from parks and trails to dispatch of emergency responders; efforts to bring decent salaries and support to employees who clear roads of ice and snow during snowstorms at night, or who work with a jail population that increasingly presents challenging and serious problems that require much more than locking a person in a cell. The need for fiscal responsibility in all county government actions is at the core of my daily work, and will inform my outlook as a judge. A dollar spent poorly in the Courts will be a dollar that can’t be spent to help keep a neglected child out of the court system, whether by a directed program, or just by having a quality park system where kids can grow and interact on a soccer field or a wooded trail.
My current duties require collegial interaction with the full range of elected officials and staff in the County, including the Courts. I am proud to have worked alongside the staff of the Youth Services Bureau, the Board of Judges and my seven Council bosses to initiate the legal structure that enables provision of vital services to at-risk youth in Monroe County, and that provides the proactive outreach to solve problems before they do irreparable damage to our youth. I was at City Hall when the old Showers factory was opened as a new center of government, a home for Indiana University offices, and an arm of CFC. I recall then-Mayor Tomi Allison’s comment as she stood at the atrium and opened the building—“Look what we can accomplish when we all work together!”
I mentioned earlier my work with Sophia Travis and the Council on distribution of community service grants. I have been a first-hand witness to this project since it was taken over by the County Council, at Sophia’s urging. Luckily, the hard decision on apportioning grants is made by the elected officials and community representatives who sit on the committee that reviews all applications. I have had the benefit of seeing first-hand the incredible resources available to the community—from groups who distribute food to the hungry, to people who provide shelter to the homeless throughout the winter, to people who provide health care to men and women in the community, or reading material to youngsters to get them excited about books. A judge is a problem solver, and through my work with the Council in the area of the Sophia Travis Community Grants program, I have gained an in depth understanding of the resources available to help solve local problems.
Is it possible to spell out something as complex as a judicial philosophy in a document as truncated as a Candidate Statement? Let me try. I couldn’t disagree more with the position of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who said that the U.S. Constitution should be viewed as if it were “dead, dead, dead.” I am proud to be a member of a progressive and humane Democratic party. My treatment of any party before the courts will always focus on respectful treatment and problem solving within the framework of law that has been built up, and grown over the centuries.
Working together with the Board of Judges, elected officials in the County and City, and citizens of Monroe County who are striving to make things better—or who are striving to conquer addictions and other problems—I can be an effective Judge in service to this great community.
Please vote in the May 3rd primary.
I thank you for your consideration.