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Kracl proud of judge nomination

July 12, 2018

All it took was a simple text message more than a week ago to make Colfax County Attorney Denise Kracl’s day.

“I got a text message from someone else who applied that said ‘congratulations,’” Kracl recalled on Monday.

Kracl, who has served as the county’s attorney since 2011, is one of three people being considered by Gov. Pete Ricketts for an opening on district court bench for the 11-county Fifth Judicial District. She’s being considered alongside Columbus attorney Jason Mielak of Fehringer and Mielak LLP and Seward Public Defender Christina Marroquin.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, potentially, for all of the candidates involved,” Kracl said. “I’m absolutely honored to be one of the three being considered.”

The Fifth Judicial District is made up of Boone, Butler, Colfax, Hamilton, Merrick, Nance, Platte, Polk, Saunders, Seward and York counties, though the primary place of residence for the vacancy will be in Schuyler or Wahoo. For Kracl, being able to continue living in Schuyler would be a perfect situation. Although a Columbus native who takes pride in her current role, applying for the vacancy left by retired Judge Mary C. Gilbride was about continuing to help others.

“I love serving the people of Colfax County, and I’m running for re-election and I’m running unopposed, but I believe I can still do more,” she said. “And so I have a strong commitment to public service and almost my entire legal career has been in public service. I don’t live in a world of ‘I wish I could have.’”

Kracl has an extensive range of experience practicing various forms of law, including stints as the City of Schuyler’s prosecutor, a senior probation officer and deputy county attorney for Colfax and Butler counties. She also was an associate of a private practice, Knoepfle & Kracl, where she gained all kinds of experience.

Today, besides serving as Colfax County’s attorney, she maintains a small private practice, has been a special prosecutor in Saunders, Seward, Dodge and York counties, and also teaches political science at Central Community College in Columbus.

Although she would have to absolve herself from her current role and other endeavors if she is chosen for the role, the new set of responsibilities won’t be intimidating for the driven and successful attorney.

“I graduated from law school in 2007 from the University of South Dakota. I worked 20 hours a week, while going to law school full-time and raising my daughter,” she said. “So, you put all of those things together, I had quite the law school experience. I didn’t get much sleep.

“I’m going to work hard to put myself in the best position that I can in anticipation of my interview with the governor,” Kracl said.

Matt Lindberg is the managing editor of the Schuyler Sun. Reach him via email at matt.lindberg@lee.net.

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