Attorney and law clerk Michael E. Benedict formally kicked off his campaign for Niagara County Judge on Wednesday.
Michael Benedict, current Judge Sara Sheldon's principal law clerk, is running to succeed his boss.
Prior to becoming Sheldon's law clerk, Benedict had been an assistant public defender, deputy corporation counsel for the City of Lockport and prosecutor for the Town of Hartland.
“After spending the past 15 years in courtrooms, I have gained the experience to be technically qualified for this judicial position," Benedict said. "But legal qualifications are only one part of the equation. In my opinion, the character of a judge is also important.”
Benedict said he expects character to be a recurring theme in his campaign.
“Niagara County will have a new County Court judge next year," he said. “And Niagara County deserves to have a judge that is representative of the strong hardworking people that live here.”
Benedict earned his law degree from the University at Buffalo School of Law, after attending Onondaga Community College and the State University of New York at Binghamton for his undergraduate studies. He worked Fridays through Sundays at a General Motors plant to pay his way through college.
“My dad worked at GM before me, and I learned a lot of lessons about life there, lessons that matter when you’re sitting in that courtroom,” Benedict said. “I have all the technical skill and experience necessary to be a judge, but hopefully I learned the humility that it takes to be a good judge at that GM plant.”
Benedict, a Lockport resident, has coached youth basketball and youth soccer.
As an attorney in private practice, Benedict worked for Seaman, Jones, Hogan & Brooks, LLP from 2004 to 2016. From 2012 until his January 2017 appointment as Sheldon’s law clerk, he also operated the Law Offices of Michael E. Benedict.
Sheldon is retiring at the end of her second term in late December. Also running to succeed her is Niagara County District Attorney Caroline Wojtaszek, who was a law clerk for Sheldon as well.