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No local candidates have emerged to fill vacancy left by Daina Vitolins who has been appointed circuit court judge

Gov. Kate Brown recently appointed Crook County District Attorney Daina Vitolins to succeed retiring Circuit Court Judge Gary Williams.

Now, she is turning her attention to filling the vacancy Vitolins leaves behind and is seeking applicants to fill the district attorney position.

The governor's office recently announced it is now accepting applications from candidates with a diversity of backgrounds and experiences. Applicants must submit a District Attorney Interest Form to the governor's office, which can be done via mail or online.

Vitolins' appointment to Circuit Court Judge of Oregon's 22nd Judicial District, which serves Jefferson and Crook County, was effective July 1. However, she will continue to serve as district attorney until her official resignation date of Aug. 11. Between now and then, she will not hear any cases from the bench, but rather help facilitate the transition from district attorney to judge.

"I won't actually start working as a judge until Aug. 14," she said, which is the first Monday after her investiture.

Vitolins has served Crook County as district attorney since 2008, and her job has included a variety of responsibilities tied to the local criminal justice system

"The district attorney reviews, charges and appears in all Crook County criminal cases," she said. "We review and appear in all juvenile delinquency cases, and we represent the state in juvenile dependency cases."

The district attorney also appears and represents the Crook County Mental Health Department in civil commitment hearings and represents the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team in forfeiture cases.

Vitolins is not aware of any current Crook County residents who want to fill the district attorney position, but she is hoping whoever does will reside in the county.

"I think it is important for the next DA to be or become a member of our community," she said. "Frankly, I don't know how you serve people in your county if you don't live in the county where you are district attorney. It's impossible to understand how the community works — the values of the community."

The Oregon Constitution mandates that the governor fill the vacancies of district attorneys as well as circuit court judges if they leave office before their term concludes. Vitolins will serve as judge until the next general election in 2018, and whoever is appointed district attorney will likewise serve until the election. At that time, both appointees must run for office and win voter approval to retain the position.

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