Ken Ryan, who will appear on the November ballot with Zachary Saunders in the Juvenile and Probate judge race, may have the chance to experience the role in the coming weeks.
The Republican Central Committee met via Zoom on Sept. 24 to nominate individuals for their recommendation to the Ohio Governor’s Office about who should fill the seat left vacant by recently passed Judge Bob Stewart.
Stewart, 70, was in his 18th year as Athens County Probate Juvenile Judge when he died on Sept. 12.
The committee ultimately nominated and approved Ryan as its recommendation, with committee members voting unanimously.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and the Ohio Supreme Court are tasked with appointing judges to vacant seats (as in, seats left vacant by fatalities or retirements). If the recommendation is accepted by the Governor’s Office, Ryan will finish out Stewart’s term, set to expire in February 2021.
Ryan, attorney and owner of Ryan Law Office Co., LPA, noted during the Republican Central Committee that he has been inspired by the life and work of Stewart.
Ryan was previously a teacher at Trimble Schools, and he worked in the school system for 12 years with more than 11,000 hours of class instruction.
He has also represented more than 100 children in abuse, neglect, dependency and delinquency cases. Ryan has had more than 600 cases on the mental health docket.
Ryan also serves as a current and founding board member for Rising Suns charitable pharmacy; a member of the Southeast Ohio Citizen Review Panel; and a volunteer attorney for the Athens County Poverty Clinic, according to Judicial Votes Count.
He has also personally been the guardian for 17 adults “who have a broad range of impairment,” Ryan told the committee.
“This experience I think makes me particularly sensitive to the vulnerabilities of the elderly and impaired individuals,” Ryan said.
He noted during the committee meeting that often in discussions of juvenile and probate court, the conversation focuses on children. Ryan said he fears for the elderly population, as he has seen in his legal experience “an increasing level in exploitation and abuse.”
Ryan reflected that he believed Bob Stewart carried out his time as judge “with deep humility,” a philosophy Ryan hopes to carry into the role if appointed.