Ken Ross for Judge
Rugged, experienced, grounded - and gay
By Jerome Stuart Nichols
Originally printed 10/18/2012 (Issue 2042 - Between The Lines News)
For Ken Ross, candidate for Ingham County 30th Circuit Court Judge, the decision to run for the position was simple. After Judge Paula Manderfield announced her retirement in March of 2012, he was faced with a set of replacements that didn't represent his ideal. Drawing on what he calls "fundamental principles of democracy," Ross felt it was time to stop complaining and simply do better.
"I think it's a fundamental principal in democracy that when you're presented with a choice of people running and you don't like the people running... You basically have two choices: you can complain about it or run yourself," he said. "I didn't particularly care for the options that we had when Judge Manderfield announced she wasn't running. So, I threw my hat in the ring."
"A big part of being a judge is having a well-grounded... decision making process so that you're equipped to make tough decisions...," he said. "I think my background has prepared me well for that."
Ross' approximately three-and-a-half-year stint as Commissioner for Insurance, Banking & Securities for the Michigan Office of Financial & Insurance Regulation through April 2011, coincided with the recent economic crash. Having successfully navigated the financial downturn is a source of pride for him and, he suggests, a great measure of his abilities.
"The time that I was commissioner also happened to be during the financial turmoil," he said. "It was the biggest upheaval in our financial market since the Great Depression. That presented us with a lot of challenges that we met and overcame."
"Most of my predecessors used that position to essentially facilitate the business of insurance in their state, to essentially offer aid and comfort to the insurance industry. Instead, I used that position as a way to be a consumer financial advocate for Michigan's working families. "
He points to his fight against the use of credit scores to determine insurance policy rates and so-called "gotcha clauses," which gave insurance companies a way to avoid covering certain claims, as two hallmarks of his everyman, woman and in-betweener approach to justice.
Ross claims to have a bug for civil service. He has been involved in the revitalization of Lansing's Durant Park and fundraising for Planned Parenthood and the Greater Lansing Housing Commission, among others.
On Oct. 11, he spoke on a panel for Michigan State University College of Law's Triangle Bar Association's National Coming Out Day celebration with openly gay Lansing City Clerk Chris Swope about the experiences of being an openly gay professional.
During his time living in DeWitt he was elected to the City Council twice, sat as the Mayor Pro Tem, was active in the Lion's Club and, as a part of the Parks and Rec board, helped build recreational areas called "all-kids playgrounds" that are accessible for children with physical limitations.
Although he's quite proud of his abilities and accomplishments, he insists a vote for him is a vote for justice not a boost for his ego.
"I'm not really running for judge to be a judge of people, so much as I am interested in making sure justice is done," he said. "Many times you find that individuals feel powerless when they're up against large corporate interest, in today's society," he said. "I think it's important for a judge to be aware of that fact and make sure that they don't automatically and reflexively rule for who has the most expensive attorney in court that day."
Outside of his judicial responsibilities, he spends his time with his children and partner of five years, realtor Brian Huggler. They maintain a sizeable garden and split maintenance responsibilities. Ross takes vegetables while his partner cares for the flowers.
Unlike many urban gardeners, Ross and co. enjoy the bounty of their labors. What's not eaten fresh is preserved through canning. A few chickens provide them with fresh eggs. Never one to shy away from getting a little dirty, Ross also enjoys hunting. It's a hobby he's enjoyed since he was a child. "My dad was a big sportsman so I grew up hunting and fishing," he said. "Whenever I have a chance to go fishing I'm up for it."
- Michigan's SCOTUS Courtside Campers
- Video: James Toy reflects on Marriage Equality Hearings
- State Senate Committee Passes Adoption Discrimination Bills
- State Capitol Candlelight Vigil Tonight Supporting Marriage Equality
- GOP Senate Source: MiRFRA Will Have Hearing Tuesday April 28, No Vote Expected
- Oakland University To Offer Gender Studies Minor
- Michigan Womyn's Fest Says 2015 Is Last Year
- The Road After SCOTUS Decision
- Advocates And Academics Advance Equality At Inaugural 'Research To Action' Conference
- National Organizations Pull Support From Michfest Petition
- Obituary: Marvin Marks
- New Case Study to Michigan Lawmakers: 'Don't Repeat The Mistakes Of Indiana'
- Marriage Equality March Downtown Flint
- Emily Dievendorf Announces Campaign For Lansing City Council
- Dieseltec Has Lapsed Michigan Mechanic's License
- Controversial Anti-LGBT Mechanic Has Checkered Past
- Pro-Gay Protestors at Dieseltec - GALLERY
- Supporters of DieselTec - GALLERY
- AIDS/HIV Organizations
- Am-Indian Health & Family Services of SE Michigan
- Franklin Auto Service
- Hair Cutting & Styling
- Charmed Salon and Boutique
- Pet Day Care
- Canine College
- Real Estate/Agent
- Shoreline Realtors
- University of Detroit
- The Gem & Colony Club
- Ann Arbor Cat Clinic
- Visitors Bureau
- Ypsilanti Area Convention & Visitors Bureau
Enter contests to win great prizes like CDs, DVDs, concert tickets and more
- Anti-Gay Company Has Lapsed Michigan Mechanic's License
- Q&A: Reba Talks 'Very Important' LGBT Rights, Her First Gay Wedding & Feeling 'Sad' For Closeted Country Stars
- Q&A: Scott Eastwood Endorses Father's Gay Marriage Mantra, Talks Sex Scenes ('I Was Turned On') & Mel Gibson's Advice
- Is GoFundMe The New Welfare For Anti-Gay Corporations?
- Josh Groban Q&A: His Queer Bear Fans, Failing The Ryan Gosling 'Gay Test' & Why He Worships RuPaul
Sign up to receive our weekly newsletters today!
A study published in the journal The Lancet HIV reports that there is a significant disparity in HIV prevalence between black and white men who have sex with men. The study was published on Nov. 18 and found a startling 32 percent prevalence rate for black men who have sex with men, compared with only eight percent for white men who have sex with men.View More World AIDS Day
This Week's Issue
Download or view this week's print issue today!
Sign up to receive our weekly newsletters today!