The governor of Kansas has just appointed the first black person ever to a district court judge position in a predominantly white Kansas county.
According to the Kansas City Star newspaper, Rhonda K. Mason (pictured), has become the first black judge on the bench in the Johnson County District Court. Kansas governor Sam Brownback (R) made the appointment in order to fill a vacancy, which came about when a sitting judge retired recently.
Johnson County District Judge Gerald Elliott is the official who is retiring that Mason is replacing. Top administrators in the Kansas state court system have said that Mason is only the second black woman in the history of the state of Kansas to be made a judge.
Brownback released a written public statement expressing confidence in Mason and stands behind his decision to appoint her to a judicial position of the Johnson County District Court. “Ms. Mason’s experience well qualifies her to serve the citizens of the 10th district (Johnson County,)” Brownback said.
Mason is an attorney who lives in Overland Park, Kansas, a suburban city in Johnson County. She was one of three finalists who were selected for Judge Elliot’s seat by the Johnson County Judicial Nominating Commission.
In 1996, Mason graduated from the Washburn University Law School in Topeka, Kansas.
“From 1998 to 2003, Mason was an assistant prosecuting attorney in Jackson County, according to her LinkedIn profile. She later served as an attorney for Allstate and the Kansas City law firm of Foland Wickens,” wrote Tony Rizzo, a columnist for the Kansas City Star.
“Since 2011, Mason has served as managing attorney for Geico and also operated a private civil litigation practice focusing on personal injury cases,” Rizzo also wrote.
Mason’s appointment by the ever-controversial Brownback to a judicial position in an affluent, lily-white Kansas County that is known for racism has a lot of people (both black and white) shocked.
However, those who stand by the writers on the right side of history are beaming with pride this week as a great societal milestone has been made.