STRUTHERS, Ohio (WKBN) – Whenever the Struthers Municipal Court judgeship opens, it’s always a popular race. That’s the case this year.

Jennifer Ciccone has been the Struthers Municipal Court Judge for three weeks. She was appointed to the position to finish the term of Dom Leone.

“The fact of the matter is that the governor was able to see the qualities that I offer in my experience and put me in this position to let me get a head start,” Ciccone said.

Ciccone has years of experience as a lawyer, just like her opponent Jim Melone. For the last six years, he’s been the magistrate for Judge Anthony D’Apolito.

“There’s lots of issues that overlap and having that broad base of experience allows me to address a case and kind of understand it from different angles and perspectives when I’m applying what I think is a fair decision,” Melone said.

Melone feels his role now in the Mahoning County courts has given him the experience to manage a case docket and preside over jury trials.

“When you have to be firm with somebody. When you have to be a little more compassionate. When you have to give somebody a little more time,” Melone said.

Ciccone cites teamwork for showing improvement in the court’s budgeting and case management since she took over. She also plans to start a night court next month.

“It just allows those people in the community that have obligations during the day, that they cannot find another way to get to court, allow them to seek justice how they believe that their case should be handled,” Ciccone said.

Melone and Ciccone have roots in the Mahoning Valley and the communities served by the Struthers Municipal Court. They see this as a dream job.

“This is something that I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve known for a long time that this is a position that I wanted,” Melone said.

“I am well vested in this community. This is a job that I have wanted since day one,” Ciccone said.

The winner will serve six years on the bench.