I (Anthony Crosby) have always been a bit of a “good boy.” Sure, I’ve received the occasional speeding ticket and probably should have been booked for J-walking a few times; however, I’ve never really been one for extreme acts of recklessness. And you may be thinking “well, you know what they say, Anthony, nice guys finish last.” I’m not sure if that statement can actually be backed by science or not, but I do know that nice guys can sit in judges’ offices without stress and accelerated hearts rates! Yes, this “good boy” had a visit with a judge for today’s feature, and, when you’re on the right side of the law, these visits can be a delightful time!
Today, our guest is Judge Mason Simons. At the time this feature was written, Judge Simons is currently seeking re-election for Elko County, Justice of the Peace. As a man who takes seriously the safety and well being of our community, how did Judge Simons come to feel this sense of responsibility for Elko in the first place? Let’s find out! “I was born in St. George, Utah. At the time I was born, my parents actually lived in Las Vegas; however, it costs too much money to have a baby in Las Vegas in 1977, so they went to St. George to save money. When I was about two, my family moved to a tiny town in Utah called Escalante, of about eight hundred people. My father worked for the federal government there, and I lived there for about ten years. So, that’s where I would consider being my hometown, the place where I grew up. At the start of jr.high school, my family moved back to Las Vegas. So, I went from a town of about eight hundred people to a metropolis. I graduated from high school in Las Vegas and eventually went off to school in Utah to graduate from Utah State University. I spent a couple years living abroad when I was nineteen years old; I lived in Nicaragua. After college, it was time for Law School. The University of Las Vegas created a law school with its first graduating class in 2001 and I graduated from its law school program in 2003. So, I was one of its first students; I’m proud to be an alum of Nevada’s only law school! After law school, I met my wife and we got married in Las Vegas. However, we promptly decided that we had enough of the big city and wanted to find some other place to raise a family. I applied for a bunch of different jobs about rural/Northern Nevada; my intentions, originally, was to work in a district attorney’s office somewhere in Northern Nevada. I actually had a job offer at the Washoe County’s district attorney’s office. But I came and interviewed in Elko, at what was the Elko County’s public defender’s office. And we just felt really good about living in Elko. So, in October of 2005, I decided to take a job here even though it wasn’t the exact type of job I was looking to accept. My aunt and uncle lived in Elko for about a decade in the 1960’s, on Garcia LN. on the Southside of Elko; I’m sure it looked a little different then than it does now. That was my only knowledge of Elko prior to making the move. But when I came here, it just felt right and it has been a very positive experience. After about a year, a job opened up at the family court to act as the court master. I was hired for it, and I did that for about six years. After that, I decided I wanted to run for the position of justice of the peace. Six years ago I ran and was elected to that position as well as being appointed as the municipal court judge by the city Elko, and now I’m running for re-election.”
Well, thanks for serving our town for the last decade, Judge Simons! As someone who sees different aspects of Elko that most are merely not privileged to, what are some things you’ve noticed/would like to see come to reality after all of your time on the bench? “I deal with a lot of the shady underbelly of Elko on a daily basis. So, I’m concerned about some of the trends we see as far as criminal involvement that goes on in our city. I don’t think we should get too discouraged because I think, by and large, our community is a place with a lot of positive things going on that we should be proud of. But we shouldn’t ignore problems that we have; we should try to address those things. One of the things I deal most with is the criminal offense of driving under the influence. We have a lot of DUI cases. Perhaps we have a little bit of the fast and loose type lifestyle in Elko. Maybe that’s due to the mining employment or that sort of thing. I would encourage people, as many members of our community enjoy social drinking, not to do things that put people at risk. And it’s a whole lot less expensive to call that taxi or have your friend pick you up compared to all of the financial repercussions of having a DUI on your record.” That’s good wisdom, Judge! Is there anything else you’ve been thinking through? “One of the things I’ve long been a proponent of, that just hasn’t come to fruition yet is something called a department of alternative sentencing, which is essentially a misdemeanor probation department. This department would provide supervision for those who are out of custody, pending trial. In the state of Nevada, if a person gets convicted of a felony charge, they are supervised as they complete their sentence and requirements for their probation. If you are a juvenile and you get in trouble, you have the juvenile probation department that supervises you. But in the misdemeanor realm, there isn’t anything like that. I would love to see the establishment of this type of program. My ultimate objective in this position is to make sure the community is safe, and I believe this type of program would help dramatically to ensure the safety and security of this community. A lot of the bigger areas Reno, Las Vegas, etc. do have programs like this.”
We’re glad your mind is focused on the safety of our area, Judge Simons! As someone who had to come to adopt Elko as your home, over thirteen years, why is your heart for our town so big? “I think we have a lot of very positive things going for our community. We shouldn’t be too down on Elko. Anytime you live in a rural area you’re going to face certain challenges that come with that. But I’m more to call the glass half full rather than half empty, and I think we have much to offer in this area. We have good people here who care about their community and want to make it a better place. And you have to take root where you’re planted. I think one of the mistakes I’ve seen is that people don’t want to put down roots here. They may live here, but they still want to act like they’re a resident of Salt Lake City, Boise, or Twin Falls and every weekend, they’re gone. And you’re never going to grow attached to the community you live in if you’re constantly gone all the time. You have to grow where you’re planted. If you’re going to live in Elko, then let Elko live in you. You’re going to get out of this town what we put into it, so this is where we need to stop thinking about how many trips we can take but ask what can we do in Elko this weekend?”
Fantastic! Thank you for sitting down with us, Judge Simons! We wish you well as you continue to serve this community! If you would like to know more about Judge Mason Simons for yourself, you can do so by checking out his website: www.masonsimons.net
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Stay good, Elko!