WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — In Luzerne County, three women, all with public service experience, are running for two open seats on the Court of Common Pleas in Luzerne County.
Alexandra Kokura-Kravitz, the Democratic nominee, brings eight years of experience from her role as a magisterial district judge in Pittston.
"It includes thousands of cases every year, including very serious criminal matters, civil matters, traffic matters, domestic violence issues. That variety and plethora of experience is something that I hope will make me a great, you know, well-rounded county court judge," Kokura-Kravitz said.
Stefanie Salavantis won nominations on both the Republican and Democratic tickets. she talked to us about bringing her nine years of experience as Luzerne County district attorney to the bench.
"I really worked hard for the community. I was out there communicating, talking to the residents of our county and making sure that their voices were heard, making sure that we did everything in our power in the district attorney's office to protect our residents," Salavantis said.
State Representative Tarah Toohil won a Republican nomination. She has served six terms in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
"I've been writing the law. I'm the only candidate that has written the law and practiced law, and hard work is extremely important, so I am extremely hard working, and I am dedicated to the people of this county, and I will work as hard as possible," Rep. Toohil said.
Regardless of which of these three women win the two seats on Election Day, they say this is the first time the people who serve as judge in Luzerne County will be split equally between men and women—five male judges and five female judges.
"I am so proud to be part of a race where there are three females running for two spots. It's important that people know that, that this is a county that I believe will be one of the leading counties that paving the way for women," Salavantis said.
No matter the outcome, this will be the first time the judge seats in the courthouse are split evenly between men and women.
"It's really fantastic. There are tremendously qualified competent women all across the ballot, all the way up the ballot, and I think the voters have a real opportunity to continue to make history tomorrow by voting for women on the judiciary here in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania," Kokura-Kravitz said.
The candidates aiming to make history tell Newswatch 16 they hope their efforts inspire others.
"It's important that women see themselves as being involved and politically engaged, and I think that that's the first hurdle is getting out there and getting on the ballot," Rep. Toohil said. "And we've seen that that was successful from the spring that three women were able to make it to the general election now in the fall."