Judge Chris Baker, Oliver Blaise III and Mark Masler have been nominated by unanimous consent for three judgeship openings in the State Supreme Court’s Sixth Judicial District by the Republican, Conservative and Independence Parties.
The official endorsements were announced yesterday (August 8) at the Judicial Conventions being held in Binghamton.
Exactly three openings exist in the Sixth Judicial District, with those vacancies created by recent retirements.
The general election is November 5, 2019, with nine days of early voting also in place.
Baker, Blaise and Masler have been campaigning throughout the district since early this year.
The Sixth Judicial District includes Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Madison, Otsego, Schuyler, Tioga and Tompkins counties.
More about the candidates:
JUDGE CHRIS BAKER was born and raised in the Southern Tier and has spent 23 years practicing law in Upstate New York. He was elected as Chemung County Judge in 2016 and has presided over thousands of cases covering every aspect of the law. Last year he was named as an Acting State Supreme Court Justice and he previously served for 17 years as former State Supreme Court Justice Judy O’Shea’s Confidential Attorney, Counselor and Principal Law Clerk. Judge Baker also volunteers on the St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation Board, as former Chapter President of the American Red Cross and as a youth sports coach. Judge Baker and his wife Karen have two sons, Michael and Jake.
“I’m honored to have the support of the Republican, Conservative and Independence parties as I seek to be elected to fill one of the three vacancies on the ballot this fall,” Baker said. “My experience on the bench as a sitting County Court Judge and Acting Supreme Court Judge, coupled with decades of service as an attorney, have prepared me well for the challenges that face a Supreme Court Justice every day.”
OLIVER BLAISE has worked for more than two decades as attorney with the respected law firm Coughlin & Gerhart, where he has gained vast experience in municipal law and civil litigation. He has served as general counsel to towns, fire districts and fire companies, and litigation counsel to towns, counties, villages and school districts. Oliver is licensed to practice law in state courts, admitted to practice in federal courts, including Northern and Southern Districts of NY, Second Circuit Court of Appeals and U.S. Supreme Court. He earned his Juris Doctor from Syracuse University and Masters and Bachelor Degrees from University at Albany. In addition, Oliver served as Election Commissioner of the Broome County Board of Elections from 2016 to 2019. He is a member of the United Way of Broome County’s Board of Directors, Binghamton Sertoma Club and past president of the Broome County Bar Association. Oliver and his wife Dalya are parents of four children ages 7 through 13.
“My more than two decades of legal service, providing representation and service to communities and schools, fire companies, and individuals on cases big and small, have prepared me to serve on the State Supreme Court. State Supreme Court is an important court, and it is important to elect judges with the skills, honesty and effectiveness needed. As judge, I will always work to maintain the highest standards of judicial fairness and excellence,” said Blaise.
MARK MASLER was born in Broome County and graduated from Cornell University in 1982 with a degree in Business Management. After college, Mark worked with his wife Bernice as a dairy farmer in Truxton for seven years, before going to Cornell Law School, where he graduated magna cum laude in 1993. For 15 years, Mark was a lawyer in the Ithaca office of Harris Beach, PLLC, where he became a partner and represented individuals, businesses, farms and banks in a variety of civil matters, including civil litigation related to those issues. Since 2008, Mark has served as the Attorney and Principal Law Clerk to Supreme Court Justice Phillip Rumsey, where he has been involved in writing over 900 decisions, including at the appellate level. Mark and Bernice have lived and volunteered in Cortland County for over 35 years and have four adult children and one grandchild.
“I’m grateful for the endorsement of the Republican, Conservative, and Independence parties for Supreme Court Justice this November. My work experience as a banker and dairy farmer and my legal career spanning over 25 years, including the last 11 years as the Attorney and Principal Law Clerk for retiring Supreme Court Justice Rumsey, prepare me to serve the people of the 6th Judicial District. As a Supreme Court Justice, I will apply the law fairly and be respectful to all the people who appear in Supreme Court,” said Masler.