"I believe in justice regardless of politics, defending the Constitution and the rule of law, and remaining grounded by my faith."
- Mark Melrose
For you to consider whether to support my candidacy, I believe it is only fair that I share some personal reflections about myself. The early part of my life was spent searching for an understanding of my place in the world. I was raised in a reform Jewish family, and as a young person I was required to attend Temple and Hebrew School. I had my Bar Mitzvah at age 13 where I repeated memorized prayers. I learned a lot about being a Jewish boy, but never experienced any personal faith in God.
I have been on my own since I was 16 years old when my father unexpectedly sent me off to an out-of-state boarding school as our family slowly disintegrated. Two years later, in 1981 I arrived alone at WCU with all my belongings packed into an old Chevrolet Malibu. I soon became permanently attached to these mountains, its rivers, and the people who call western North Carolina home. My search for meaning and belonging continued. One day a friend gave me a Bible to read. This one included the New Testament... A year later I became a follower of Christ. My faith has ebbed and flowed over the 35 years since, but I now understood my place in the world.
I am imperfect human being, and have fallen short many times. As a judge I would strive each day to do my best. I have a passion for justice. I have an unshakeable desire for fairness no matter the cost. My role as an attorney over nearly 30 years has allowed me to represent ordinary people during some of the most difficult, painful, and emotional times of their lives. I have defended people who have made horrific decisions, and sought financial relief for people who have been catastrophically injured or lost loved ones. Throughout, however, I have always sought to be ethical and fair. After a successful legal career, I believe now is the time I should serve my community, and I believe that service is in a role I have unknowingly been in training for almost 3 decades---as judge.
That friend who gave me that Bible later became my girlfriend, and then 32 years ago my wife, Dawn. We’ve been raising our four children for 28 years (we still have a 5th grader). During the joys and sorrows of life I’ve remained committed to my profession and trying to do the next right thing in the eyes of God. I believe the time is right for me to help seek justice in our local courts; not because I need to be “someone.” Rather, because of what I hope to do for others. That is the promise I will make to you. Thank you.