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Fish, Soliday in contention for Porter Superior Court 1 judge
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Fish, Soliday in contention for Porter Superior Court 1 judge

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Soliday - Fish

Democrat Matt Soliday and Republican Mike Fish

VALPARAISO — The race for judge of Porter Superior Court 1 pits Republican Mike Fish against Democrat Matt Soliday, both seeking to replace retiring, longtime judge Roger Bradford.

Fish, 49, who lives with his wife, daughter, son and dog in Valparaiso, said he has never held elected office.

"I am called to serve and passionate about helping and protecting people," he said. "My previous experiences working as temporary judge reinforced that notion."

"I enjoy working with people and helping them through their most difficult times," Fish said. "I strive to have a servant's heart. I believe I can best use the skills and abilities I have developed during my professional life working as judge for the people of Porter County."

Soliday, 53, who was born and raised in Valparaiso and currently lives in Chesterton with his wife and two Boston Terriers, said he is taking this first shot at elected office because he has the right experience, passion for the law and a dedication to the community.

"My uncle was a judge and, as a young man, I was fortunate to observe him in the courtroom," Soliday said. "That experience helped me appreciate the impact judges have on both the legal system and the people within it."

"My goal is to ensure that fairness and justice are always protected in our courts," he said. "We are in a very uncertain time and the citizens of Porter County deserve a judge with the right experience."

"The main issue in this race will be which candidate has the right kind of experience to be able to hit the ground running and meet the demands of the job from day one," Soliday said. "This courtroom does not hear family law cases, juvenile law cases, or bankruptcy cases. Its docket consists mostly of felony criminal cases and major civil cases, which are precisely the types of cases I have handled regularly during my 28-year legal career."

Fish said, "My military career shaped me as a citizen. I've been to spartan places, dealt with troubling adversity, and worked with people from all walks of life and all over the world."

"In this race, this is in part why I've got the best life experience to earn your vote," he said. "The ability to apply common sense, compassion, and perspective - along with a keen understanding of the law - results in good, strong decisions for the people."

Fish said he has volunteered to protect children and reunite families as a Court Appointed Special Advocate since 1999. He also previously served on the Family House Board; coached youth baseball, football, and basketball; and assists the Chesterton Speech and Debate team by judging meets.

"I strive to give 50 hours of pro bono representation each year to help the needy with legal matters," he said.

Soliday said, "It is my belief that a judge should also contribute to their community outside of the courtroom, which is why I was formerly named Volunteer of the Year by the Valparaiso Family YMCA."

He is a founding board member of the Valparaiso Turkey Trot, has served as a mentor for middle school-aged boys in Portage through the Our Greater Good Boys to Men program, is a past president of the Porter County Bar Association and a former adjunct professor at the Valparaiso University Law School. He currently serves as a member of the Porter County Tourism Board and the Porter County Inns of Court.

Soliday said he has practiced law for more than 28 years as a trial attorney and has served as a deputy prosecutor, public defender, private attorney, and currently serves as a public defender in the United States Federal Court system.

"As a former deputy Porter County prosecutor, I tried and won more jury trials than anyone else in the office at that time," he said. "During my time as a deputy public defender, I became one of the few death penalty qualified attorneys in Porter County."

Lake County elections staff prepare for early voting

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Porter/LaPorte County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Bob is a 23-year veteran of The Times. He covers county government and courts in Porter County, federal courts, police news and regional issues. He also created the Vegan in the Region blog, is an Indiana University grad and lifelong region resident.

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