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Compassion and balance key, says Judge Kim Bacon

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Like Marion County Circuit Court Judge Sheryl Lynch and Clerk Myla Eldridge, Kim Bacon made history on Election Day Nov. 4, 2014. She’s the first woman and African-American to hold her new office. She’s the new Lawrence Township Small Claims Court Judge. Her term runs through Jan. 1, 2019.

Born April 7, 1966, she’s the owner of private practice Bacon Law and Mediation. She currently serves as Judge Pro Tem in Marion County Courts and mediator and public defender while running her private practice advocating for the people as a trial attorney. She’s been licensed in Indiana since 1999. Bacon is also a volunteer guardian ad litem for Kid’s Voice, and a member of the Volunteer Voter Protection Counsel. The Indianapolis Recorder Newspaper interviewed Bacon recently about her historic win.

Indianapolis Recorder: Tell me about the election. Did you feel confident you would win?

Bacon: I believed in my heart that I did have a good chance of winning, based upon what my mentor, State Rep. John Bartlett was saying, and along with what my running mates, (Lawrence Township Trustee) Steve Talley and (Lawrence Township Constable) Terry Burns, said.

How did you campaign?

We waged a ground campaign. Old-fashioned, absolutely. We walked, door-to-door, my family is awesome. My brother David, my sister-in-law Amy Sue, my husband Ten, like the number 10, even my nephew “Quincy,” who is actually named David V, he is 3, and my daughter, Theryn, 9. My mother (Amelia Cade Bacon), who is 69 years old, was knocking on doors as well. She’s a two-time breast cancer survivor, she was out there. My dad, David French Bacon III recently was diagnosed with ALS, but he was doing everything he could do.

Did your family enjoy the campaign trail?

The kids loved it, they like to go knock on doors, and say, “Kim Bacon for Judge!” Meeting people was truly a joy. Many said they had not had that before. The actual candidate at their door – that meant a lot.

Did you also campaign on the church circuit?

I went over to New Horizons, Light of the World, Messiah and Amazing Grace. Light of the World is my home church, and Rev. David Hampton, I just remember him telling me to be strong in my faith and stand faithful to who I was. I was at Messiah Missionary Baptist Church just before the election, and remember Pastor Stephen Clay saying to me, that what God has for me, no one can take away. And he (Clay) has just been appointed to the City Council.

What were your campaign promises?

I just wanted to make sure everybody was going to be represented fairly, whether they came into court with an attorney, or came in without one. Another campaign promise is that people will be treated with respect, and no one will feel berated or demeaned because they’re there under circumstances, I’m sure they would not want to be in.

Is it difficult to be a judge?

I am a mediator. One of the things I like to work at is trying to get people to come to a consensus. I anticipate putting on that mediator’s hat (while) listening to these cases. I will have compassion for people’s circumstances, but help them understand what has to be done. There are rights that a landlord or debt collector have. What we can do, is have them collect their debt, and leave you in a place that you are not going under.

To you, what is the importance of Small Claims Court?

To me, Small Claims Court is a place to start that ground campaign of building Indianapolis as a better place.

In Small Claims Court, you’ll see people trying to do right, but are living paycheck to paycheck. They deserve to have that roof over their heads, but maybe have a child that has gotten sick, or hit a bump in the road. Then, the landlord needs rent to support their family, they need money to put back into the community, to build or buy other property.

If we don’t get some of these vacant properties built up, maybe add housing, these are the houses that become drug houses, where crimes are committed, where heinous things happen to children and young girls.

Any advice for aspiring politicians?

First, get a lot of rest. It takes stamina, and endurance. You also have to have a very strong, core group of people, which will include your family and friends. You have to have people that you can trust. There will be a lot of people that say they’re going to help you, and in your corner. The game of chess is always changing. They may be in your corner for the time, but then the wind may blow. Have a plan, and stick to that plan. People will want to give you their input but that will take you away from what your plan is, and that will cause you to expend energy. Keep your focus and be yourself.

Would you care to share your personal convictions about racism and diversity?

People feel like racism doesn’t exist anymore, and it really, really does. Being in Louisiana for school and law school for seven years, the interesting thing was, you knew what racism was. Racism was overt. It was easy to spot. It was often said to you. You knew who liked you and didn’t like you, you knew how to avoid it, if someone didn’t like the color of your skin.

How would you describe racism in Indiana?

It’s much more covert. You grow up in school systems that are very diverse. And you think that you know somebody, and you have overcome the racial aspect of the environment, and that you’re friends with people. You don’t really realize that you have not come as far as you believe you have until you’re in the predicament that someone is selected over you, because of race. Having gone from Park Tudor, to a Southern university, to Detroit, then coming back to Indiana, it’s been very enlightening.

Tell us about your family life.

My husband, Ten, is a HR manager for Polaris Labs. We got married and honeymooned in Vegas. We like Vegas! We actually do. We’ve had so much going on from the campaign. Getting my office together, getting the court transitioned. Now I’m getting back into the routine of making sure that my daughter is getting back to who she is. She does competition dance.

How do you relax?

I like all music. I like contemporary jazz. I like old hip-hop. Last night, we were actually playing games at the house and listening to the 80s throwback jams, just having a good time! And I am an Alpha Kappa Alpha woman.

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