PORT ANGELES — With an eye on addressing mental health issues on the Peninsula, Dave Neupert is seeking re-election to the bench in Clallam County District Court I.
Neupert, who was elected in 2018 to fill a vacancy left by Rick Porter, announced his re-election bid Sunday.
District Court I recently received a $231,500 state grant to establish a Mental Health Court.
“The new Mental Health Court will hold participants accountable while matching them with treatment services to reduce recidivism,” Neupert said in a press release.
“(I am) committed to moving District Court forward to meet the emerging needs of our community. Mental Health Court will have a positive impact in people’s lives.”
Nuepert has filed as a mini-filer, meaning he intends to raise and spend less than $5,000. Therefore, he does not need to list campaign contributions.
No other candidates had filed for the position with the state Public Disclosure Commission as of Wednesday.
District Court didn’t shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic, he noted.
“We stayed open to do the people’s business, which is a tribute to the dedication of our court staff to assist the public,” he said in the release.
“People can now appear by video for many hearings, and that means better access to the court.
“We plan to provide more access by also providing for electronic filing of legal documents.”
District Court I also will continue to require community service work as an alternative to incarceration to “maintain accountability for offenders while providing a chance for positive involvement with others in need,” Neupert said.
Neupert, a Port Angeles resident who is active on the Therapeutic Courts committee of the statewide District and Municipal Judges Association Court, was news director at radio station KONP in Port Angeles after he graduated with a journalism degree from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, and he earned a law degree from the University of Puget Sound.
He has practiced criminal and civil law in Clallam County since 1991, including four years as head of the public defender agency covering Clallam County.
He was a partner at the Platt Irwin Taylor law firm, followed by his work as in-house general counsel to Peninsula Housing Authority.
He has also volunteered with numerous local nonprofit organizations, he noted in the press release, including Peninsula Behavioral Health, Habitat for Humanity of Clallam County, United Way of Clallam County, Olympic Peninsula Humane Society and Peninsula College Foundation.
The geographic area covered by District Court I stretches west from Blyn to west of Joyce.
Michael Dashiell is the editor of the Sequim Gazette of the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which also is composed of other Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News and Forks Forum. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.