Veteran county prosecutor and military attorney Matt Smith has announced his candidacy for one of Cumberland County’s open Court of Common Pleas judges’ seats.

“I have dedicated my life to serving our country and community,” Smith said in a Monday campaign announcement. “I will use my proven experience as prosecutor and as a judge advocate general (JAG) officer in our military to ensure Cumberland County is a safer place to live, work, and raise a family.”

County voters will elect two judges in the 2019 local election cycle.

One of the seats is new, as Cumberland County has been assigned a seventh judge’s seat by the state legislature, given the county’s growing population and caseload.

The second open seat was created by the resignation of former judge Skip Ebert, who left to become the county’s district attorney after former county DA Dave Freed was appointed to a federal post.

Court of Common Pleas judges in Pennsylvania are elected to 10-year terms, and can file for a “yes or no” ballot retention question every 10 years after that. They are mandated to retire at age 75, an age limit that was increased from age 70 by referendum in 2016.

Smith is first assistant district attorney under Ebert, and has served in the Cumberland County DA’s office for 17 years, according to his campaign, having conducted over 100 jury trials.

Smith has also served in the military for 23 years, 12 of those as a JAG officer in both prosecutorial and trial defense roles before military courts, according to his campaign. He is an Iraq war veteran and most recently completed an 11-month tour in Kuwait, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, including time at the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait.

Pennsylvania judges’ elections are partisan, with judges seeking party nominations at a May 21, 2019, primary, with the general election on Nov. 5, 2019. Smith’s website said he is running as a Republican.

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