Schendt named new county judge

After a grueling interview process and weeks of waiting, Tami Schendt received word Monday morning that Gov. Dave Heineman had announced her as his appointment to serve as County Judge in the 8th Judicial District. Schendt and fellow Broken Bow attorney Mike Borders, had their names submitted to the Governor for consideration for the judgeship, filling a vacancy left by the retirement of long-time Judge Gary Washburn. The 8th Judicial District consists of Blaine, Boyd, Brown, Cherry, Custer, Garfield, Greeley, Holt, Howard, Keya Paha, Loup, Rock, Sherman, Valley and Wheeler counties. Schendt, 44, has practiced law for 19 years in Nebraska, and currently serves as Custer County Attorney and has held this position since 1995. She graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Law in 1993, and began her career in Broken Bow at that time as Deputy County Attorney. Schendt says she has always been interested in law, and participated in the mock trial program while in high school. The program was fairly new, and one year her team won third place at state. “That’s when I decided that’s what I wanted to do,” says Schendt. She went on to graduate magna cum laud with a major in criminal justice and minor in speech communication from the University of Nebraska-Omaha and Lincoln. Schendt was offered a full scholarship to the University of Southern California to pursue a master’s degree in judicial administration, but turned that down to attend law school instead. Schendt says UNL College of Law was the only school she applied to, as she knew that was where she wanted to go. Schendt says she turned down the USC scholarship because she knew she wanted to be a practicing attorney. However, she also had set a career goal for herself of one day becoming a judge. She says this was the perfect opportunity at the perfect time. “Custer County is my home, and this is a good point in my career to make a change,” says Schendt. The vacancy for the judgeship was declared in early June, meaning that is when it was decided that Judge Washburn would be replaced here. The application process included a public hearing July 12 in the Custer County Courthouse, with the names of Schendt and Borders being forwarded to the Governor’s office for consideration for appointment. Schendt says she received a call from the Governor’s office at 8:30 Monday morning, and that she and Borders had kept in contact through text messaging. “It made it kind of hard because Mike and I are friends,” Schendt explains. “But at least we had the consolation of knowing if we didn’t get it the other one would, and we were OK with that.” Schendt plans to wrap up her duties in the County Attorney’s office and begin the duties of her new position by early Septem-ber. There are two years remaining in her term as County Attorney, and it will be up to the Board of Supervisors to appoint someone to fill that term.