In their first appearance in what will be a short campaign leading up to the Oct. 19 election, four candidates vying for a Jefferson Parish Juvenile Court seat appeared at the Alliance for Good Government's forum Tuesday night, each claiming superior experience as they asked for an endorsement. Judge Nancy Amato Konrad set the stage for the eight-week campaign by announcing her retirement last month, a year before her elected term was scheduled to end.
Barron Burmaster of Crown Point, Zoe Olivia Fleming of Lafitte, Connie Montgomery of Kenner and Stephen Petit of Metairie touted their experience in working in juvenile matters and their desire to help children from the bench.
The Alliance favored Burmaster, giving him the first endorsement in the election.
"It will be a clean campaign," Burmaster told an audience gathered at the Harahan Senior Center. "We will all do a good job campaigning."
If needed, a runoff will be held Nov. 16.
Konrad on Oct. 31 leaves the elected post she has held almost 33 years, making her the longest-serving jurist in Jefferson Parish and the second-longest in Louisiana. Her term ends next year, meaning whoever is elected to replace her faces another election soon.
Burmaster, a Republican, has been a Jefferson Parish prosecutor almost 22 years, most recently working as executive district attorney, an administrative job from which he takes an unpaid leave of absence in about two weeks. His tenure at the office includes 14 years assigned to the juvenile division, with 10 of those years as the deputy chief of that division. He said the two prongs of being a juvenile court judge involve balancing public safety with the child's best interest.