Bartholomew Court Judge Kelly Benjamin has announced his intention to seek another six-year term on the bench.
After his predecessor, Stephen Heimann, announced he would not run again, Benjamin and fellow Republican Scott Andrews faced off in the 2016 GOP Primary.
Benjamin emerged victorious with 8,180 votes, 18% more than Andrews. She ran unopposed in the November general election and was sworn in at the end of the year.
As a judge, Benjamin became a champion of problem-solving courts, which form teams to determine and address the underlying causes of an individual’s criminal conduct. For example, the judge presides over an adult problem-solving court, better known as a drug court.
The judge is a member of the evidence-based decision-making team, holding leadership roles with respect to prison drug treatment and pre-trial services. The team were instrumental in starting a successful prison drug treatment program in 2020.
Working in several leadership roles with the Alliance of Substance Abuse Progress, Benjamin is also widely seen as the catalyst for the creation of the Community Bonds for Youth and Family Stakeholder Committee. This group is currently reassessing the county’s juvenile justice system, community practices, resources and opportunities.
At the state level, Benjamin is chair of the Indiana Judicial Education Committee and was chosen by Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Loretta Rush as the state’s sole judicial representative in take a weeklong course at the National Judicial College. The course focused on partnerships between legal and medical entities to successfully address substance use disorders.
Outside the courthouse, the judge is a member of the Bartholomew County Heritage Fund Board, as well as the Race and Equity subcommittee.
While an intention to run for political office next year may be announced at this time, an official candidacy can only be declared on January 5, the first day that nominations are accepted for local races, state and federal.