McDonald to be honored by LeMoyne Center

Traci McDonald-Kemp

As a deputy district attorney, Traci McDonald-Kemp often tried cases and handled other prosecutorial matters in Courtroom No. 1.

On the last business day in August, in that same courtroom, she will take the oath of office as a Washington County judge of the Court of Common Pleas.

The ceremony is scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday, Aug. 30.

McDonald-Kemp will be the first black woman judge in Washington County’s 238-year history and the second person of color to be elected to the Court of Common Pleas.

She follows in the footsteps of the late Hon. Paul A. Simmons of Monongahela, former Washington County and U.S. district judge who was the recipient of the 1992 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Pennsylvania Bar Association Minority Bar Committee.

After the pomp and circumstance, McDonald-Kemp, 48, will preside in Courtroom No. 7 as the seventh judge on the Washington County bench, a position approved by the state Legislature in 2017 because of the county’s growing caseload.

Winning nomination May 21 in both the Democratic and Republican primaries, Gov. Tom Wolf placed McDonald-Kemp’s name before the state Senate, which unanimously confirmed her interim appointment as judge June 27. The governor then followed up by signing her commission.

Her name will appear on the ballot in the Nov. 5 general election for a 10-year term.

Before being sworn in Aug. 30, McDonald-Kemp will have to resign her position as magisterial district judge for the Cecil Township area.

The district judge’s office at 3441 Millers Run Road will be covered by senior district judges until an election for a six-year term can be held in 2021. It could also be filled on an interim basis by a Wolf appointee.

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