Judge candidates hail from Lower Valley

YAKIMA -- One candidate wants to take his judicial experience one step further. The other says becoming a judge would help him serve the community.

Mike Everett, a Grandview attorney with six years under his belt as Wapato's municipal judge, and Doug Federspiel, a Yakima attorney currently working for a real estate investment firm, are running for Yakima County District Court Position 4.

Everett, 65, is a Grandview native who returned there to start his law practice in 1974. He says he has the background best suited for becoming a District Court judge.

"He's a nice man, he's a bright man, but he just doesn't have the experience in District Court," Everett said of his challenger.

Federspiel, 47, grew up in Prosser and graduated from Selah High School.

He returned to the area to start his law career after graduating from law school in 1989.

Federspiel said he has only periodically appeared in District Court since the early years of his career.

Federspiel challenges Everett's background as a criminal defense lawyer. He says he would come to the bench free of that bias.

"The person sitting on the bench has to have the highest integrity," Federspiel said.

Everett emphasized that he has won support from attorneys on both sides who have appeared before him as a judge. His practice these days, he says, is mostly civil lawsuits in Superior Court.

Both candidates said they are prepared to help the court look for economic savings and operational improvements.

Everett points to his experience working on a shoestring budget in Wapato, where he saved up money for several years to upgrade required recording equipment.

Federspiel says his time with the Wilkinson Corp., where he has worked since 2006, has proven his ability to make systemwide fixes, such as consolidating a multistate roster of corporate agents through one company.

That helped the company save a significant amount of money, something that would be important for the court system as well.

"That is one of the skills I can bring to the table if I am elected District Court judge," Federspiel said.

Federspiel said he has prepared to help out in Superior Court as well if another judge is needed to help with the backlog of cases at that level.