Three vie for Storey County justice of the peace

Storey County Justice of the Peace incumbent Annette Daniels will be facing two challengers in her bid for a second term. Both bring with them extensive experience in the legal profession, and both think change is in order. Justice of the peace is a non-partisan office.

- Harold Swafford

"This court should be open and user-friendly for all people," Swafford said, noting people need to know why a ruling is made. "It should be a much friendlier place than it is now."

An attorney, Swafford presently works out of a one-lawyer office in Reno and resides in the Virginia City Highlands with his wife and two sons.

"I can't imagine a better place to raise two boys," Swafford said. "It's been a great life in Storey County."

Originally from Michigan, he holds a degree in business administration from the University of Nevada, Reno, and a law degree from the University of Michigan. He has practiced law in Nevada for 28 years: 23 years in private practice and five years as a Nevada Deputy Attorney General. He has conducted over 60 jury trials in state and federal courts, and represented Nevada for more than 20 years on Truckee River water rights issues.

Both sons attended Storey County Schools since kindergarten and his wife, Katie, teaches at Virginia City Middle School.

Swafford spent five years with the Virginia Highlands Volunteer Fire Department and chaired the architectural committee there. He has also been a Little League baseball coach and a member of the North Reno Kiwanis.

- Walt Harsch

Walt Harsch, 56, emphasized his commitment to political reform: the fair, just and impartial administration of justice and the abolishment of special interest politics. He promises to be dedicated to the spirit of the law, and to administer justice without embarrassment to the community.

"I want to be Storey County's inclusive, not exclusive justice of the peace, serving the working class as well as the business community," Walt Harsch said, noting he would run the court more like a family-friendly business than a law practice.

Originally from Southern California, Harsch has lived in Storey County for six years. He majored in criminal justice in Southern California, and was a member of the Los Angeles Police Department from 1971 to 1974. He then served as a patrol officer, investigator, and intelligence officer with the U.S Customs Service from 1975 to 1986.

This Vietnam veteran started his own equine specialty service in 1986, and then worked as a ranch manager for Brindley Stables in Ridgecrest, California. A single dad and grandfather of four, he presently works as the main clerk for the V&T railroad.

- Annette Daniels:

Incumbent Annette Daniels is in her twelfth year as Justice of the Peace in Virginia City, a position she wants to keep. Daniels was initially appointed to the post when her predecessor resigned in 1988.

"I have the best qualifications because I have the best experience and training. I'm happy here. It's a fun job, and I like working where I can really make a difference," Daniels said, noting that even some of the people she has sentenced have said they felt they were treated fairly. "A lot of people I've dealt with have been happy with the outcome (of trials)."

Daniels said she has always worked and although she has some college, most of her training has been on the job: continuing education from the National Judicial College, the Nevada Judges Association and the National Judges Association.

Originally from San Diego, she and her husband of 28 years moved here in 1981. She said she enjoys the scenery, the mountains, and living in a rural area with proximity to to city life.


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