Meet the two newest judges making history in Luzerne County

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LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — History was made in Luzerne County this week when two women were elected as judges. That means for the first time there are as many women on the Luzerne County bench as there are men.

The history of the vote is not lost on these two judges’ elect. Stefanie Salavantis and Tarah Toohil say they want to be role models and mentors for other women.

“I think our history is so important,” said Toohil.

Toohil says she realizes her victory Tuesday night was not just for herself.

“100 years ago that women weren’t even able to vote just gotten the right to vote. Some still weren’t able to vote. The fact that now 100 years later like an equal number of men and woman on the Luzerne County bench is history for Luzerne County,” explained Toohil.

Four men and now four women. Toohil, who is currently a state representative from the Hazleton area, insists it’s about qualifications and not gender.

“I have a great love for the law, great love for writing the law. I practiced law. I always loved the courthouse. I love working there, so for me to go back there so close to home and not be away from all of the constituents I love so much is really a great honor,” stated Toohil.

Salavantis and Toohil were the two top vote-getters. Alexandra Kokura-Kravitz finished in third Tuesday night.

Salavantis, the former Luzerne County District Attorney, says she wants to send a message to all women.

“While I was District Attorney I would go around and I would talk to women and really tell them how important it is to get involved not only in government but community. I want to be a mentor that needs to support each other,” explained Salavantis.

Salavantis, like Toohil, says it’s all about qualifications and hard work.

“It’s not just about that we’re three females. We are three qualified, very qualified females for the position. I’m so proud that the voters had this choice,” stated Salavantis.

Toohil and Salavantis will be sworn in in January. Eyewitness News spoke to a political scientist who says there is definitely a growing trend of more women entering politics and running for public service positions.

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