Sandvik not running for re-election to 6th District CourtJudge Kenneth Sandvik made his intentions public today. “It feels like a good time to go and get out," he said in a phone interview from his chambers in Two Harbors.
By: Mark Stodghill, Lake County News Chronicle
Sixth Judicial District Judge Kenneth Sandvik was asked by eight or nine attorneys in the last couple of weeks whether he intends to run for his sixth term as the presiding judge in Lake and Cook counties.
Because some of those attorneys were interested in filling Sandvik’s position if it were to open, the judge privately told them he would not be filing for re-election.
Sandvik, 62, made his intentions public today. “It feels like a good time to go and get out,’’ he said in a phone interview from his chambers in the Lake County Courthouse in Two Harbors. “I haven’t solved the world’s problems. So I’ll let somebody else have a turn.”
Two Duluth lawyers declared today they will run for Sandvik’s seat on the bench. Mike Cuzzo, a partner in Duluth’s Cuzzo & Envall law firm in Duluth, issued a news release saying he will announce his candidacy at a press conference Thursday morning.
Sixth Judicial District public defender John Lind of Duluth said he will file Thursday to run for Sandvik’s spot. Other candidates have until 5 p.m. next Tuesday to file for the position.
Sandvik was appointed a State District Court judge by then-Gov. Rudy Perpich in 1984. He was elected in a contested election in 1986 and was re-elected unopposed in 1992, 1998 and 2004.
“I’ve enjoyed my work immensely and found it very satisfying, but I think it is time to move on,’’ Sandvik said.
The judge said that point was driven home to him last weekend when he attended a Minnesota Twins game with his son’s family and his grandchildren. He would have liked to have spent another day in the Twin Cities, but had to drive back to Two Harbors for an 8 a.m. Monday court calendar. Now he intends to spend more time with his five grandchildren.
Sandvik said he chose to fill out his term until the end of the year because he didn’t want the governor appointing his replacement. “I’d rather have the people pick my successor (in an election),” he said.
Sandvik has his main chambers at the Lake County Courthouse in Two Harbors, but is also the presiding judge at the Cook County Courthouse in Grand Marais.
The 6th Judicial District includes St. Louis, Carlton, Cook and Lake counties, which means judicial candidates run on ballots in all four counties.
Cuzzo has 26 years experience as a trial attorney. He said he has represented more than a thousand people and organizations and is frequently asked to serve as an arbitrator and mediator. In a prepared statement, Cuzzo said, “I’m seeking election to that position because I think my broad experience and record as a trial attorney, arbitrator, mediator and teacher, as well as my ties to Northeastern Minnesota, provide the background needed to serve the citizens of this region well.”
Lind has been an attorney for 25 years and has worked as a public defender in Northeastern Minnesota since 1987.
“I would be the most qualified attorney to replace Judge Sandvik after his 26 years,” Lind said. “I’m the most qualified in the district because I have worked in both state and federal court and I’ve been involved in a jury trial in every courthouse in the district.”