Amy Mann has ‘done it all’ & brings experience to judge’s race in Monroe/Summers

By Stephen Baldwin, RealWV

“The most important reason I’m running is my experience.”

That’s how Amy Mann describes her rationale for being a candidate to replace the retiring Circuit Judge in District 31 (Monroe & Summers), Judge Robert Irons. 

Amy began as a paralegal in her father’s law office in Hinton, where she worked for nine years after college. Then “at the ripe old age of 35,” she went to law school and returned to Hinton. She and her father opened Mann & Mann, a name she has kept to this day even after her father’s death as a way of honoring him. 

While in private practice, she worked every type of case imaginable–real estate, estate planning, adoptions, civil work, and eventually took on criminal work as well as an assistant prosecutor. Then in 2007, she was appointed by the Summers County Commission to replace Jim McNeely as the prosecutor. She was one of the only part-time prosecutors in the state, which allowed her the unusual vantage point of practicing civil and criminal law at the same time. 

“There are many other areas of law that a circuit judge needs to have some experience and familiarity with,” she says. “I think the ability to understand the law in other aspects than just criminal is very important for a circuit judge.”

After choosing not to run for prosecutor again, Mann further expanded her experience into juvenile law. “I do almost all of the guardian ad litem work and the abuse/neglect cases in Summers and Monroe. Between my years as a prosecutor and my years since then, I’ve formed a great knowledge of juvenile and abuse/neglect law.”

“In 2017, the judge asked me if I would be willing to work as the mental hygiene commissioner in Summers and Monroe,” Mann shares.  “I did that and have been acting in a semi-judicial role for several years now.”  

She says, “When you put all that together, I’ve done it all in 22 years. My experience speaks for itself.” 

Which is a bit of a surprise even to Amy Mann, herself. “I never really thought about being a judge, to be honest. But then I never really thought about being a prosecutor. I really never thought about being a lawyer until I turned 35.”

Her husband encouraged her to run for judge in 2023. Then, the unthinkable happened. “I lost him in a tragic accident. At that point, I thought there was no way I could run a campaign. After a lot of tears and conversations with people that the decision would affect, my family and employees, we decided the time was right.”

Her conversation with her son about the decision to run was particularly impactful. “When I spoke to my son, who’s 19 now, we’d both gone through a devastating loss. He looked at me and said he didn’t know many people that would have a parent that would even have the qualifications to run for judge. He was extremely proud whether I won or lost that I’d worked hard and made enough right decisions to even put my name on the ballot as a judge.”

“That alone for a mother is enough,” she says. 

Mann also values the learning process that comes with her experience. “I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not always right. I make mistakes. And it’s important to continue training and learning and understanding that everybody can continue learning until their last breath.” 

While she’s been out on the campaign trail, she’s been challenged to learn new things already. “I’ve enjoyed being out and meeting people. I’m very much a homebody. I like my solitude. But I’ve had so many people in both counties who have been so excited and supportive in my campaign. That has given me a sense of even more of a blessing. I don’t think you realize how many people you affect in public service.”

“Politics takes you out of your comfort zone,” she says. “Will I be glad when May 14 is over? Yes, I will–win, lose, or draw.” 

Mann is running for Circuit Court in District 31 which serves Monroe & Summers. Her opponents include Kristin Cook, Keith Lively, and Rod Mohler. Voters will choose a new judge in the primary election this May.

“If the people of Summers and Monroe will show up and check the box that says Amy Mann, they won’t be sorry. I will give it everything, my heart and my time and my experience to make a good circuit judge.”

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