An East Manchester Township attorney has joined the race for a new magisterial district judge position in Manchester, and she's distinct in being the only female in a contest against five male candidates.

Laura Manifold, 35, said she wants to enter public service and thinks her experience as a lawyer makes her the most qualified to be judge.

She has practiced family law and some criminal law at the firm Manifold & Golla in Stewartstown, which she said she bought in 2004, and her office also handles estate cases, traffic tickets, landlord-tenant disputes and other general law.

"It's pretty much everything that a district magistrate does except homicide and major felonies," she said.

Manifold said her experience and her license as an attorney would enable her to immediately start taking cases as a judge, bypassing classes that are mandatory for some other candidates.

A 1996 graduate of Kennard-Dale High School, she attended Penn State University, where she got a bachelor's degree in history in 2000. She attended the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, graduating in 2003, she said.

During law school, Manifold interned at the district attorney offices in Allegheny and York counties and developed an interest in public service, she said.

She has served as an arbitrator in York County since 2004, one of three attorneys acting like a judge and making decisions in civil cases involving $60,000 or less, she said.

Manifold said her experiences as a woman and a mother would bring a fresh perspective to the judge position, and she could better relate with female defendants.

"My role as district judge will be to uphold the law and make decisions based upon the evidence, while being impartial," she said. "It would be an honor to serve the citizens of York County. I will strive to make the area a better place to live by holding people accountable for their actions."

Also running for the seat are Kevin Romine, Bruce Bartz, Howard Daniels, a lieutenant in the Northeastern Regional Police Department; Hellam Township Police Sgt. Drew Heistand; and Robert Eckenrode, who has been a police officer and a detective but has taken leave from his position as special agent with the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General to run for district judge.

The newly formed district, 19-3-11, has been vacant since being created in January 2012 by the redistricting that closed the Brogue office of District Judge Nancy Edie. The new district covers Hallam, Manchester, Mount Wolf, Wrightsville, and East Manchester and Hellam townships.

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