Editor's note: The Chronicle Editorial Board issues endorsements of local candidates. Endorsement decisions are based on multiple interviews conducted with each candidate by the board and staff. Candidates not endorsed by the editorial board of the Chronicle are encouraged to submit a rebuttal to letters@chronicleonline.com no later than Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020. All rebuttals submitted prior to the deadline are guaranteed to publish no later than Monday, Aug. 17, 2020, the day before Election Day.

The nonpartisan race for Circuit Court judge pits incumbent judge George Angeliadis against Brooksville attorney Pam Vergara. This race will be on all ballots in the primary and the winner of this contest will have a six-year term in Hernando County within Florida’s Fifth Judicial circuit. Voters from the circuit’s jurisdiction of Citrus, Hernando, Lake, Marion and Sumter counties will select the winner of the contest.

Angeliadias was appointed to the court in 2018 following the retirement of former judge Curtis J. Neal. He was chosen from among 11 applicants for the position. He oversees part of the civil docket dealing with medical negligence, personal injury, foreclosures, sinkhole and tobacco litigation. He also presides over cases in drug, mental health and veteran’s treatment courts where defendants can have charges dismissed if they complete court diversion programs.

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Prior to his time on the bench, Angeliadis was attorney for the Sumter County Board of County Commissioners, the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office Sumter County’s elections and tax offices and the Hernando County clerk of Court. He also served as Crystal River’s lawyer for eight years and he received a key to the city for his work.

His community service includes time with the Brooksville Rotary Club, the Sheriff’s Office Youth Educational Program, and Teen Court. He is a long-time coach of the First Hernando Youth Soccer Club.

Vergara was initially educated as an engineer and earned a PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of South Florida. She has served as a managing engineer for Jim Stidham & Associates in Tampa and as director of environmental external affairs for the Florida House of Representatives before teaching at Hillsborough Community College. While teaching at the community college, she attended law school at Stetson University where she graduated with a law degree in 2010.

According to her campaign website, she has legal experience in cases relating to wills, trusts, probate and civil litigation while working with William B. Eppley, PA in Brooksville and she has an interest in protecting the elderly from exploitation and guardianship cases.

Her community service includes serving as a board member of the Southwest Florida Water Management District, the Pasco-Hernando Community Board of Trustees and the Byrd Alzheimer’s Research Institute.

Additional information about the candidates can be found on the Chronicle website at https://www.chronicleonline.com/

During his time in office, Angeliadis has demonstrated that he was a good choice for the judgeship. Based on his proven record of service and his experience both as an attorney and as a judge, the Chronicle urges voters to return Angeliadis to the bench in this non partisan race.