Hapner seeking municipal court judge’s seat


Kathryn Hapner has announced her candidacy for judge of the Hillsboro Municipal Court.

Hapner was born and reared in Hillsboro and began practicing law in 1996 with her uncle and father, Jon and Jim Hapner, respectively.

“I have been honored to practice law in my hometown and learn — for nearly three decades — from the best lawyers in the business. I graduated from Hillsboro High School in 1983 and subsequently from Baylor University School of Law in 1995, where I was on the dean’s list and was chosen to represent Baylor as part of the negotiation competition team at the national law school competition,” Hapner said in a news release. “Like generations of Hapners before me, I’ve always been called to live and serve this community we call home — Hillsboro and Highland County. My roots and my favorite people in the world are in Hillsboro and Highland County, and it’s here that I want to make a difference in the lives of the people of our community.”

In addition to her private practice, Hapner has twice been an assistant prosecuting attorney, under both Rocky Coss and Jim Grandey. She served as deputy law director for the city of Hillsboro and was appointed and then twice elected as law director for the City of Wilmington.

“My practice has been broad and varied. I regularly practice in Hillsboro Municipal Court, all divisions of the Highland County Common Pleas Court, and several other courts in Southwestern Ohio, including the federal courts in Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus,” the news release said. “In addition to my nearly 30 years of legal experience as both a defense attorney and prosecutor in front of the bench, I serve on the bench as the magistrate for the village of New Holland.

”Outside of my law practice, I can be found every Sunday teaching Sunday School and attending Mass with my congregation at St. Mary Catholic Church in Hillsboro. In addition to my faith, my political and civic involvement is important.”

She said she has been president of the Highland County Bar Association, president of the Highland County Republican Women’s Club, president of the Clinton County Women’s Republican Club, president of the Hillsboro Rotary Club, vice president and secretary of the Highland County Swim Organization and secretary of the Highland County Community Improvement Corporation.

”For me, the law is not just a job or a profession. It is a way of life — a calling. I was raised in a home where the law was paramount,” the news release said. “I learned both the love of, and the need for, the law from my earliest days. I had a daily example of the law and of true public service in my father, James D. Hapner. He and my mother, Louise Hapner, instilled in my siblings and me the importance of the law and of service to our community. That love of the law has stuck with me, and I’m committed to the importance of the rule of law in our daily lives, as well as in society as a whole. Without it, there is only anarchy and disorder.

”In order to maintain the rule of law, we must ensure that we support our law enforcement officers, maintain high bail standards and ensure the constitutional rights of all our citizens,” Hapner continued. “As judge of the Hillsboro Municipal Court, I will endeavor to ensure that our law enforcement officers are treated with respect, that repeat offenders are not roaming the streets while awaiting trial and that the rights of all people are respected. I will also endeavor to coordinate services for defendants as I believe that to large degree mental health issues promote and complicate criminal behavior. A holistic approach is sometimes necessary in solving the crime problem.”

In addition to learning a love of the law from a young age, Hapner said she also learned the importance of responsible governance. She said the government should work for the people, and not the other way around.

”This means that all government entities from the smallest villages to the largest federal bureaucracy must be mindful of the taxpayer’s money. Those running these institutions have a duty to the taxpayers to not be wasteful or careless with that funding,” the news release said. “As judge, I promise to always be mindful of the expenses of the court and to refrain from waste.”

Hapner said she is the mother of four wonderful sons, two of whom are military veterans, and a daughter-in-law. She said her children have taught her many virtues that apply equally to both motherhood and the bench including patience, tolerance and compassion, but also the need for discipline and punishment when called for. Both roles call for a balancing of kindness and toughness, a need to know when empathy is required and when it is time to bring the hammer down, she said.

“I am seeking election to the municipal court because I believe that the people of our county deserve the best. The citizens deserve public officials with experience, compassion and a true understanding of the local culture,” the news release said. “I am that person. I believe that with over two decades of practice in municipal court, I am uniquely qualified to hold the office of municipal court judge. Therefore, I ask for your support in the Republican primary election on May 2.”

To learn more about Hapner or her campaign, go to https://www.hapnerforjudge.com or email [email protected].

Information for this story was submitted by Kathryn Hapner.

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