Shidaker, Wilkin square off to become county prosecutor


CLINTON COUNTY — Two former assistant county prosecutors for Clinton County are seeking to become the new county prosecutor at the March 19 primary election.

Chief Deputy County Prosecutor Kaitlin Wilkin and Brian Shidaker, the current deputy public service director for Wilmington, are running in the Republican primary. The current county prosecutor, Andrew McCoy, is seeking the role of Clinton County Common Pleas Court Judge.

John “Tim” Rudduck, the current judge, is not seeking reelection.

There are no Democrats running for the position of county prosecutor in the primary election.

When asked about why they are seeking the position of county prosecutor, Wilkin highlighted her long career as a prosecutor and her collaborative efforts working with local law enforcement and other parts of the county (including townships and county officials).

“At its core, being a prosecutor carries a responsibility to represent and support those needing a voice with passion, competence, and dedication. I am seeking the position of the elected prosecuting attorney because I have the current experience, knowledge, and dedication the position requires. As a prosecuting attorney I am prepared and able to make tough decisions and fight for my community,” said Wilkin.

Shidaker told the News Journal he wants to ensure a safe county for future generations.

“I’m running for those who share my love for Clinton County, envisioning a path towards improvement rather than the perpetuation of crime and the erosion of our core family values. Our county deserves a prosecutor who is dedicated to positioning our county for the best possible future,” said Shidaker.

Wilkin previously served as an assistant prosecutor for Clermont County before becoming an assistant prosecutor for Clinton County under the late Rick Moyer. She also was a certified legal intern of Cincinnati with a limited license to practice law as a prosecutor while attending the University of Cincinnati School of Law.

Shidaker told the News Journal he’s been a licensed lawyer for over 17 years and also served as an assistant prosecutor for Moyer before becoming the chief felony prosecutor. He advised he “led the charge” on over 3,000 felony prosecutions for serious offenses, including murder and rape.

He has served as the safety/service director for Wilmington and managed “multimillion-dollar municipal projects and operations.” Shidaker has also served as the city’s law director, currently serves as a member of the Wilmington City Schools Board of Education, vice president of the Clinton County GOP Central Committee, and is a board member of the Wilmington Public Library.

Looking at the issues in the county, Wilkin advised she wants to work with the various communities and organizations to continue “utilizing new programs to increase identification of crimes happening in our community.”

She advised the new projects include “updates to technology and creating partnerships with larger agencies to bring resources into our community. These resources have allowed us to challenge the rise of violent crimes and hold those responsible accountable.”

“Our community is faced with laws that are rapidly evolving around drug offenses, violent offenses, victims’ rights, and sentencing for crimes. It is essential that the Prosecutors Office has experience in identifying those changes and remain informed to assist our law enforcement and community members that participate as jurors in our system,” she said.

She went on to say that the challenges are complex and through “transparency and collaboration with multiple facets of our community working together that success and change can be achieved.”

Shidaker told the News Journal that ensuring public safety is his top priority “amidst rising crime rates, particularly those driven by drug addiction and mental health challenges.” While acknowledging societal crises, he “firmly believes they cannot serve as excuses for criminal behavior.”

He advised he’ll prioritize law and order, advocating individual responsibility, champion victims’ rights, and “always prioritize the well-being of our community when assessing cases.”

“Recognizing that punishment is essential for upholding the law and reinforcing societal norms, I also see the importance of coupling it with rehabilitation efforts,” he said. “Restoring trust and confidence in our criminal justice system is imperative. I plan to promote transparency in decision-making processes, maintain open communication with our community, and ensure equal treatment under the law for all individuals. “

He went on to say he’ll work closely with law enforcement and other stakeholders to enhance efforts to combat crime and implement strategies to address the challenges in the county “swiftly and fairly.”

When asked what makes each candidate unique, Wilkin highlighted her trial experience and support she received from local law enforcement, including from outgoing Sheriff Ralph Fizer Jr. She also noted she advocates for those who experienced sexual assault and trauma, or the loss of a loved one due to the offense.

“As the prosecutor, I have worked diligently with law enforcement to successfully present evidence and testimony in court resulting in the defendants’ serving significant sentences for their crimes,” she said. “I am the qualified candidate able to speak about the current duties and responsibilities of the office of Prosecuting Attorney due to my years of hard work and experience as your current chief deputy prosecutor.”

Shidaker said his long-time residency in Clinton County, his voting record as a Republican, and his career makes him a qualified candidate.

“I have called Clinton County home for 42 years, while my opponent has resided here for less than a year. I have been voting Republican for decades, whereas my opponent has never voted in a primary and has never previously registered as a Republican. With 17 years of experience as a licensed attorney compared to my opponent’s seven years, my extensive experience speaks for itself,” he said, adding he would be a full-time prosecutor while saying Wilkin would plan to “maintain a private practice and serve only part-time.”

In their final words for local residents, Wilkin asked for the public’s vote, highlighting her campaign has been based on duties, responsibilities, and job experience it takes to be the leader and community member while serving as Clinton County Prosecutor.

“Our community members, law enforcement, and government offices deserve a prosecutor with current knowledge, experience, and the determination and dedication to serve,” she said.

Shidaker advised his campaign has been driven by a deep-seated belief in justice, community, and protecting the core values of the community. He advised his legal experience and public service experience make him qualified.

“Through hard work, integrity, and collaboration, I am confident we can face the challenges confronting our county head-on,” he said. “Understanding the responsibilities that come with the role of prosecuting attorney, I am prepared to confront these challenges with determination and a clear vision. ”

Reach the News Journal at 937-382-2574

No posts to display