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      TOPEKA—District Magistrate Judge Margaret "Peggy" Alford will retire October 2 after serving 28 years in Grant County.

      Alford was elected magistrate judge in 1992. In addition to her duties in Grant County, she oversees the child in need of care and juvenile offender dockets in Seward County. Both counties are part of the 26th Judicial District, which also includes Haskell, Morton, Stanton, and Stevens counties.

      Alford said helping young people has been her passion and inspired her to become a judge.

      “Working with troubled youth is a divine appointment that has intersected my career," she said. "It is very humbling, but ultimately I have experienced many positive, rewarding outcomes. My greatest accomplishment has been leading juvenile offenders in the right direction. The hardest part is making decisions about people’s lives when you are presented only a portion of the story."

      Alford received a bachelor of science degree in human resource management and graduated with honors from Friends University, Wichita. She received a master’s degree in adult education from Kansas Newman University in Wichita.

      She served two years as president of the Kansas District Magistrate Judges Association after serving in all of the organization's other offices. She was a member of the Supreme Court's Judges Manual Committee and currently serves on the Supreme Court's District Magistrate Judges Certification Committee.

      In 2009, the Kansas District Magistrate Judges Association presented her its highest recognition, the Lee E. Nusser Award. 

      "Being a judge in a small community with cultural differences can be challenging," Alford said. "Knowing your neighbors is all the more reason to work diligently to maintain a courtroom that is fair and respectful to everyone who enters—setting the stage where people can feel safe, be presented with fair options, and find a positive track to move forward."

      Alford also is municipal judge for the City of Ulysses and will continue in that post.

      Originally from Colorado Springs, Colorado, Alford moved to Garden City in the early 1970s to work as an office manager. She moved to Ulysses after marrying J. Stephen Alford 46 years ago. They have five children, 12 grandchildren, and soon will have a great-grandchild.

      District magistrate judges in the 26th Judicial District are elected by partisan ballot. State statute requires the governor to select a replacement to complete a vacated term of office. Alford was last elected to a four-year term in 2016.

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