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New judge

Cherie Clark, the new Southeast District Court judge, talks Friday about her transition from living in the Fargo-Moorhead area to Jamestown. She was appointed by Gov. Doug Burgum to fill the term of John Greenwood, who retired on Aug. 1. Chris Olson / The Sun

Cherie Clark enjoys running and is liking what she sees as far as challenging routes to run here in Jamestown.

Clark is starting her second week as Southeast District Court judge. Clark was appointed by Gov. Doug Burgum to fill the judgeship in Jamestown formerly held by John Greenwood. Greenwood announced his retirement in February. His last day on the bench was July 28.

Clark said she enjoys running and likes that Jamestown has a different terrain than the Fargo-Moorhead area.

"I like the hills," she said. "Fargo is flat. I've run through the city (Jamestown) and it's much more difficult, it's harder to run."

Clark is the first woman judge for the Southeast District Court. She said she is honored to be the first woman judge for the Southeast District Court and would like to see that trend continue.

"The one thing I want to take from that is I surely hope I am not the last," she said.

The Southeast District Court includes Barnes, Dickey, Eddy, Foster, Griggs, Kidder, LaMoure, Logan, McIntosh, Ransom, Richland, Sargent, Stutsman and Wells counties.

Clark said one of her role models is North Dakota Supreme Court Justice Lisa K. Fair-McEvers. Fair-McEvers was appointed to the state Supreme Court by then-Gov. Jack Dalrymple in January 2014. Clark said Fair-McEvers was a Cass County assistant state's attorney just like she was.

Clark said she has about 15 years experience as a lawyer. Since 2006 she was a Cass County assistant state's attorney, according to information provided by the North Dakota Supreme Court. From 2002 to 2006 she was an assistant Otter Tail County attorney. She was admitted to the State Bar Association of North Dakota in 2007. She received her undergraduate, graduate and law degree all from the University of South Dakota.

Clark was born and spent the first five years of her life in Sacramento, Calif. Her mother came to the University of North Dakota. Clark said they lived in Grand Forks and Bismarck. When Clark was 16 her mom and stepfather divorced and Clark went back to California. She said when she was 23 she made a decision to move back to North Dakota.

"It's (North Dakota) a good place to raise your kids," she said. "I had two small children and I wanted to raise my kids here."

Clark said she and her husband, Greg Key, are close to purchasing a home here in Jamestown. She said she is looking forward to having Key here along with their dog and three cats.

Clark said she decided to become a lawyer after she got involved in government and public service while pursuing a master's degree in public administration. She said she feels blessed to come to work and face a new challenge each day.

"We (those working in the court system) meet interesting people," she said. "We get to help them resolve their problems in a meaningful way without violence."

Clark said the Jamestown community has made her feel welcome. She said she is impressed with the Southeast District Court staff and said the other district court judges have stopped by her office and welcomed her.

Clark said she is looking forward to getting to know the community better as she settles into her job.

Chris Olson

Hometown: Traverse City, MI College: Northwestern Michigan College and Michigan State University

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