Renee Henke, recent graduate, elected District Magistrate Judge

Photograph: Judge Renee Henke being sworn in as district magistrate judge.Renee J. Henke, who graduated May 2012, was elected as district magistrate judge in Kansas' Seventeenth Judicial District, Division 4. Henke will be based in Downs, Kansas, in the north central part of the state.

After winning the Democratic primary in August, Henke defeated Richard E. Linton in the November 6 general election, garnering 59% of the vote. Henke campaigned door-to-door and was pleasantly surprised that her youth was viewed as a strength. She said that most people "liked to see someone young moving back to the area, using their education and coming back and trying to help build the community and maybe encourage other young people to come back here as well."

In preparing for her position, Henke will be working closely with current Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Thornton and spend time shadowing Seventeenth Judicial District Judge Preston Pratt.

As a district magistrate judge Henke will have jurisdiction over traffic infractions, cigarette or tobacco infractions as well as criminal misdemeanors and juvenile cases. She will also have authority to conduct preliminary hearings, arraignments in criminal felonies, and jurisdiction over probate matters.

While in law school, Henke was a law clerk with Irigonegaray & Associates; a teaching assistant for legal analysis, research, and writing; and served as secretary for the Washburn Student Bar Association.