Wednesday night, there was a crowd of over 200 people at a fundraiser in Sam race for one of three judicial vacancies. All of my friends were there - both of them. Sam had invited me as his guest, knowing I have no money, but I decided to stay away. Because I take some pretty controversial positions, I was afraid I might do Sam more harm than good just by being there.
I should have gone. I could have talked about ancient Rome with Easton Mayor Sal Panto, who is an expert. I could have picked up a few jokes from future Palmer magistrate Tony Sortino, who really should be doing stand up comedy at the Improv. And I could have talked to Sam and his wife. He actually called me later that night. "Bernie, we had spring rolls." He was not just making an idle gesture.
Sam gave me a copy of his speech, which contains a stirring salute to his working class mom and dad, who helped this Easton kid through college and law school. Unfortunately, they are no longer with us.
Thank you Councilman Brown and Mayor Panto for your very kind words. Before I give my very brief remarks, I want to acknowledge a number of officials and candidates for other offices.
I want to thank my treasurer, John Genova, for all of his work and for being such a good friend over the years. I also want to thank someone who is not only one of the best lawyers I have ever met, but also one of the most generous and giving persons I know, my mentor, benefactor and chairperson, George Baurkot.
I began to generally think about running for Judge four years ago. But, it wasn’t until two years ago that I began this particular quest. At that time, many of my friends and colleagues didn’t even know that there might be upcoming retirements and openings. However, I still wanted to be prepared and began making plans.
I began to reflect on what I could bring to this position. In making this palm card, my secretary Tammy can tell you how I scrutinized each word, theme and content for the truth.
So when I tell you that I believe I have the experience for the job, it’s not just a campaign tactic, it’s the truth.
It doesn’t seem so long ago that I was a young lawyer working with local attorneys such as Charlie Spaziani. During the last 25 years, I’ve been no stranger to the courtroom. My years as a public defender and private attorney have given me significant experience in jury trials and other litigation, both in criminal and civil court.
Although courtroom experience is important, there are other necessary qualities for a Judge: integrity, fairness, compassion, temperament and respect for the lawyers and individuals before the Court. During my last 6 years as Child Custody Master and sitting on the bench as Juvenile Hearing Master, I have had the opportunity to test those qualities in myself. I truly believe I can exhibit these same qualities as Judge.
There is one other quality I want to talk about and that is work ethic. While many of my friends and colleagues already know this, I need to get an important message out to the electorate. Whether at work or as a volunteer on boards or coaching baseball, I don’t do anything halfway and would give this job 100%.
Let me close by acknowledging my family: my wife Margie, my daughters Emily and Maria and my son Joe who is at Penn State in the College of Engineering.
I want to thank my colleagues and friends who are here as well as those colleagues who have given me their generous support, but could not be here. I want to thank my friends from the greater Easton and Bethlehem areas and throughout Northampton County as well as my friends here from Lehigh County. I must also thank my families on both sides. Thank you to my Italian American and Lebanese American families and friends who have given me so much support. In particular thank you to everyone here from Our Lady of Lebanon and the Holy Cross Society - El Letto Santo.
Here I am embarking on a campaign for Judge. Some might say that is a milestone in a career, but no where near the milestone for two working class parents, my mom and dad, Sam and Mary Murray, in putting a kid from 9th and Ferry Streets through college and law school. My faith tells me that they are seeing your support and help today.
I know they are happy to see that I am surrounded by all of you. When I was young I used to complain about being an only child, not realizing how lucky I would be in the future to have so many good friends and family like you.