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Howard Cameron joins the St. Croix County bench

Longtime public defender Howard Cameron was sworn in as Branch 4 Circuit Court Judge Friday in a ceremony in his new courtroom at the St. Croix County Government Center.

The courtroom was jam packed with well wishers including family and friends, members of the district attorney's department, clerk of court's staff and former colleagues from the public defender's office.

Judge Roderick Cameron of Chippewa County, a 25-year-veteran of the bench, gave the oath of office to his younger brother.

Howard Cameron's 17-year-old daughter, Kathleen, a senior at Hudson High School, held the family Bible for the occasion. A reception followed in the County Board room.

Sitting Judges Eric J. Lundell, Branch 1, Scott R. Needham, Branch 2, and Edward F. Vlack, Branch 3, welcomed the new judge aboard with well wishes and expressions of gratitude to the board members for putting things in motion to secure a fourth judge.

"I want the County Board members to know that the coffee, cookies and punch at the reception were provided by me and my family," said the new Judge Cameron, indicating not a penny of county taxpayers' money was used for the party.

Cameron won the seat in the April 3 election defeating Hudson attorney Mark J. Gherty by a slim 307 votes out of more than 9,800 cast for both candidates.

Cameron and Gherty won spots on the April ballot by garnering the most votes in a five-candidate primary election on Feb. 19.

Cameron tried his hand at farming and teaching before earning a law degree from UW-Madison. He started in private practice in 1987. He became a public defender in 1991 at Spooner, then transferred to the Hudson office in 1997.

Cameron moved to Hudson in 1993. His wife, Teresa, is a teacher at Hudson Middle School.

Need for fifth judge seen

The accolades and praise for new Judge Howard W. Cameron were barely finished when the alarm was sounded for a fifth judge.

Cameron won the fourth judgeship in the county in the April election. At his swearing-in ceremony Friday morning, Judge Eric J. Lundell, who is the senior jurist in the local circuit court, expressed his gratitude to the County Board for approving a measure to allow the addition.

"We are going to need a fifth judge before you know it," said Lundell.

He said that when the economy turns around and with continued growth in the county, the need will be apparent.

The judge said budget requests have already been set in motion and the County Board is aware of the need.