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Grosse Pointe Farms, Grosse Pointe Shores

Incumbent defeats newcomer in Farms/Shores judicial race

November 18, 2013


GROSSE POINTE FARMS/SHORES — Farms/ Shores Municipal Court Judge Matthew Rumora had to do something this year that he hasn’t had to do since 1993: campaign.

Rumora, who has been the Farms judge for more than 25 years and the judge in Grosse Pointe Shores since 2011, said he had to update his campaign literature from 20 years ago when he learned he’d be facing a challenger in November — attorney Matthew Peck, a Farms resident like Rumora.

Rumora was re-elected to another four-year term behind the bench, earning 1,403 votes in the Farms to Peck’s 412 votes, and 423 votes in the Shores to Peck’s 69 votes, according to unofficial election data available at press time.

“I’d just like to thank the Farms and Shores voters for their overwhelming support, and I look forward to continuing to serve the Farms and Shores community,” Rumora said after the election.

Rumora said he’s fortunate to have a “great” court staff, which he said is one of the reasons the Farms court gets high ratings.

“We’re really one of the best-run courts in the state of Michigan,” he said. “I think everyone is satisfied with the court the way it is. We go out of our way to satisfy the residents.”

For Peck, the results might have been disappointing, but the process wasn’t.

“I’ve really enjoyed getting to meet a lot of my neighbors,” said the first-time candidate, who spent a lot of time in recent months visiting residents in the Farms and Shores. “That part has been fantastic. It’s been a lot of hard work, but … then you meet somebody who’s got a lot of great questions, and you want to keep going.”

A father of three children ages 4, 6 and 8, Peck has lived in the Farms for the last three years and the Pointes for the last decade. His wife is a lifelong Grosse Pointer, he said.

“I couldn’t have found a better community to raise my children,” Peck said.

And the campaign turned into a family affair, with his oldest son, Stephen Peck, 8, running for student council at Kerby Elementary School.

“He found out I was running … and he said, ‘I’m going to run for student council,’” Peck said, “I got a kick out of it.”

Middle child Katie Peck, 6, a first-grader, then also followed suit, he said.

Peck’s family, friends and other supporters were among those campaigning for him at the polls on Election Day, and it was the same for Rumora.

Shores resident Harry Kurtz was passing out literature on Rumora’s behalf at Shores City Hall Nov. 5.

“I think Judge Rumora has served us well, but I do like the opposition, and (Matthew Peck’s) mother is delightful,” he said of Maureen Peck, also campaigning outside of Shores City Hall — albeit for her son. “I’m glad (the judicial race) was contested, because it got the conversation going.”

Maureen Peck, of St. Clair Shores, laughingly admitted she was biased, but nonetheless felt her son was a good fit for the position of municipal court judge.

“I think he’s the most intelligent, honest, loyal, qualified person I know,” she said. “If he weren’t my son, I’d want him for my friend, because you can depend on him.”

Shores resident Mary Huebner was also campaigning on the challenger’s behalf at Shores City Hall. She said she’s known Matthew Peck all of his life, and she called him “dedicated, brilliant and fair.”

Shores resident Mike Laskowski said he was voting for Rumora because he felt the judge offered the right mix of “firmness and fairness.”

“He’s doing his job, and I don’t want to make a change,” Laskowski said.

Attorney and Farms resident William Dailey was campaigning in support of Rumora outside Brownell Middle School in Grosse Pointe Farms.

“I think he’s a good judge,” Dailey said of the incumbent. “I practice in front of him.”

Brent Nielubowicz, who recently moved to the Farms, said he was voting for Peck because he liked what the newcomer had to say while campaigning in the Farms.

“He seemed like a pretty down-to-earth guy,” Nielubowicz said.

At age 37, Peck is only two years younger than Rumora was when he was appointed to serve as the judge in the Farms. But Rumora said he had “a vast range of experience” with the court before his appointment, having been the city’s prosecutor for three years prior to being named judge. Before that, Rumora said he served as a referee and magistrate for 36th District Court in Detroit and tried felony cases as an attorney at the old Recorders Court downtown.

“It was natural for me to handle cases in the Farms,” Rumora said.

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