Kayla Jackson-Williams Wins Division 10 Associate Circuit Judge Seat | Elections
Columbia attorney Kayla Jackson-Williams was elected associate circuit judge for Division 10 on Tuesday, and when she takes office Jan. 1, she will be Boone County’s first black judge.
Although Tuesday’s election was a primary, Jackson-Williams’ victory on the Democratic side of the ballot was also essentially a victory in the general election in November, as there will be no Republican candidate in the race.
Jackson-Williams won with 7,367 votes, claiming 51% of the total, according to the Boone County Clerk’s Office. She beat Columbia Family Law Group LLC. attorney Angela Peterson by 193 votes.
Jackson-Williams is currently an attorney for the law firm Rogers Ehrhardt. She will take office as an associate circuit judge on January 1.
With music, board games, hors d’oeuvres and a small group of her closest friends and their children, Jackson-Williams nervously anticipated the results at her home in Columbia.
“As I said before, what’s for me is for me and now I’m the judge. It’s just unreal,” Jackson-Williams said of the end result, as tears streamed down her face.
It was the first time Jackson-Williams had run for the position. She will replace Leslie Schneider, who has been on the bench since 2006.
An associate circuit judge serves for four years. Division 10 primarily handles family law matters such as child abuse and neglect, divorces and adults.
Throughout her campaign leading up to Election Day, Jackson-Williams highlighted her experience in various areas of law.
She practiced family law at the Stange Law Firm in Colombia after earning her law degree at MU in 2016. She then practiced criminal law at the Missouri State Public Defender’s Office from 2017 to 2019 before joining Rogers Ehrhardt in 2020.
Jackson-Williams said her diverse legal background will help her fulfill her duties as the new Division 10 associate circuit judge.
As soon as the final results were released, his mother and friends shouted in unison and celebrated, and Jackson-Williams’ phone began to overflow with phone calls from his supporters.
Jackson-Williams felt happy and proud to be the first black judge elected in Boone and Callaway County, and quoted United States Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown-Jackson and Supreme Court Justice of Missouri Robin Ransom as sources of inspiration.
She also said she enjoyed the campaign process and went through it with her daughter Mackenzie. “I really enjoyed meeting people from our community. I learned a lot about myself and grew a lot,” she said.
One of the biggest lessons of her campaign was finding her voice and learning restraint in that voice, Jackson-Williams said.
“There had been a lot of not-so-good comments that I could have responded to in the past, but I realize now that sometimes that doesn’t require a response.”
Jackson-Williams said her plan was to sit down with all the judges like she did before deciding to run.
She is eager to prepare to perform her duties and follow Schneider “as soon as possible,” she said, as she has seen other judges do before they came off the bench.
“They came in not knowing what to expect and now they’re excelling,” she said.
Rebecca Franklin, mother of Jackson-Williams, said she was extremely proud of her daughter, whom she pushed to be the best she could be. “When I asked her if she would ever run for judge, she said no, but I saw it in her. She’s humble, smart, and she’s mine,” Franklin said in tears.
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