OKANOGAN – Heidi E. Smith, who was appointed to take Chris Culp’s seat on the District Court bench, has announced she will seek election as judge in the upcoming November general election.
She was appointed as District Court Judge in December of 2011 by the Okanogan County Commissioners after Culp was selected for a newly-formed second judgeship on the county’s Superior Court bench by Gov. Christine Gregoire.
“Since being appointed, I completed the week-long Washington State Judicial College training and two traffic courses through the National Judicial College, ‘DUI Court Enhancement’ and ‘Traffic Issues for Judges,’” said Judge Smith. “I am currently participating with other judges throughout the state in a month-long Search and Seizure web course put on by the Washington State Judicial College.”
She is a fourth generation resident of Okanogan County on both sides of her family. Her parents are John and Mary (Colbert) Appel, originally from Tonasket, and now residing in Ventura, Calif. and has three brothers and one sister.
“Growing up we all helped with my parents’ road building and land clearing business here in Washington and tree service in California. I attended schools in Tonasket and Ventura, graduating from Ventura High School in 1993. I graduated with a B.A. from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 1997, and a Juris Doctorate degree from Gonzaga Law School in 2001.”
Smith was employed at Winston & Cashatt, P.S. in Spokane as a law clerk while in law school and as an associate in the Construction Practice Group until 2003, when she was hired by Okanogan County Prosecutor Karl Sloan to serve as the Chief Civil Prosecutor for Okanogan County.
“Soon after moving back to Okanogan County, I met my husband, Eli Smith, a life-long resident and local farrier. After serving a term with the prosecutor’s office, I went into private practice, originally partnering with Terry Karro, and later with Mary ‘Bess’ Derting, working primarily in the areas of real property and small business.”
She said it has been a privilege to serve as District Court Judge and she is grateful for the support and encouragement she has received from family and community members, the county commissioners, District Court staff and her co-judge, Judge Henry “Hank” Rawson.
“I look forward to growing and serving in this position, and finding more ways to promote access, fairness and efficiency in our courts, ” said Smith.