[Mahlon Boyer gave this speech Sunday, Feb. 24, at St. Paul’s UCC in Amityville to announce his candidacy for Berks County judge.]
Good afternoon. My name is Mahlon Boyer. Thank you for being here. Today is the official kick-off of my campaign for judge on the Berks County Court of Common Pleas.
I cannot think of a more appropriate place to begin my campaign than here at St. Paul’s UCC in Amityville. This is the church my family goes to and the church that I grew up in. However, more importantly, this is where we come to worship God.
I made a solemn promise before I began my campaign for judge that my faith as a Christian would be front and center. I am happy to say that I have depended upon the Lord my entire life. I did not begin any work on this campaign until I had prayed about it. Although being judge is something I have always wanted to do, it took me a month of daily prayers to decide whether running for judge was the right thing to do.
So who am I? At the moment, I am the proud father of two wonderful boys, ages 3 and 11 months. I am happily married and live in Exeter Township. I am an attorney with Bingaman Hess in Wyomissing, where I have been for almost 10 years. My practice is diverse and includes many areas of the law such as commercial litigation, bankruptcy, estates and small business start-ups. My practice over the years has allowed me a strong understanding of litigation and trial practice and has touched upon many areas of the law.
These things describe my current point in life, but not my personality. I think it is very important that you know the personality of the individual you elect as judge. It has been my experience that the character of a judge is what makes them successful, not the number of trials they have handled or the number of years they have under their belt. The position of judge does not transform someone into a better person.
My personality, like all others, has been shaped by many different things, which are impossible to describe in full today.
One thing that shapes my personality is my faith. As already noted, my faith in God is vastly important to my life. To me, that means loving God and helping those in need. As Paul wrote in Thessalonians, “encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
I think my personality was also shaped in large part by my childhood. My childhood was a happy one. I had two wonderful parents growing up who continue today to be loving and extremely generous, as they have always been.
However, and something that shaped my life forever, is the fact that I was a heavy kid growing up. My weight was an issue right through 10th grade in high school where I hit my heaviest point at 230 pounds. It was at that point that I made an effort to lose weight, which was successful. I weighed 160 pounds when I graduated high school.
Ladies and gentlemen, do not discount the effect that looking from the outside in can have. There is pain in knowing you are looked at differently, that you are not part of the popular group and knowing that some derisive comment is right on the tip of someone’s tongue if you say or do the wrong thing. You tend to avoid being noticed and, in doing so, hope that you can avoid the comments that follow.
However, what seemed like a hardship I now count as a blessing. It gave me empathy. I know what it’s like to be on the outside. I understand the pain of being different. Everyone wants to be accepted, yet we know that is never the case. Take a turn on the outside, understand what it’s like to be different, and only then will you understand the bullied, the rejected and those that society considers less.
So why should I be judge?
There is a certain law-and-order misconception that a judge sits in a courtroom everyday and handles only criminal cases. This is not true. A judge can be assigned to criminal court but a judge can also be assigned to other courts such as civil court or orphan’s court. Judges are required to do many different things. Sometimes they need to mediate and try to settle cases. Other times, they are required to render written opinions based on cases presented to them and the law that applies. At all times, they have the power to affect lives and they need to be always mindful of this.
This is why I mentioned the importance of character. It is my opinion that character is the defining attribute of any good judge. Good character is not something that experience alone will create. Good character is not something that is taught in law school. Good character is learned through life and, in large part, based on mutual respect, concern for others and the setting aside of bias and pre-judgment.
I consider myself someone that is always willing to help and someone that puts others ahead of myself. I strongly believe that I could render judgments not based on personal opinion but based upon an unbiased review of facts presented and the law that applies. I mention “the law that applies” because I strongly believe that judges are not creators of the law and there should be no attempt on their part to do so.
As many of you know, I have pledged not to seek campaign contributions. It often seems that good candidates are lost due to a lack of funding. Politics sometimes seems to boil down to a popularity contest and that should not be.
Without question, my choice in this regard likely sets me back from the others. I will not have funding for billboards or commercials, tablets or pens.
However, I have you and I am not ashamed to say that I am completely dependent on you. Only your word of mouth can help me. Please, help me prove that money does not have to be a part of our political system.
If you find me worthy to be judge, then please tell others and please vote for me on May 21 when the primary is held. I would be honored to serve as your judge. Thank you.