As a life-long western Kansan with more than 30 years experience in the courtroom, Tom Drees is running as a District Judge candidate for the 23rd Judicial District in the upcoming August 4th Republican primary election. Drees currently serves as the Ellis County Attorney, a position he has held since 1997. He has also served as the Trego County attorney for one term (1997-2000), in conjunction with his Ellis County Attorney position. The 23rd Judicial District encompasses Rooks, Ellis, Trego, and Gove counties.
A native of Hays, Drees graduated from Thomas More Prep-Marian High School, Fort Hays State University, and the University of Kansas School of Law. After graduation from KU, he returned to Ellis County and worked in private practice and as the Assistant Ellis County Attorney for seven years. Under his leadership as Ellis County Attorney, the office has sentenced more than 3,000 felons, with more than 1,000 sentenced directly to prison since 1997.
Drees and his wife, Patricia, have two grown children, Anne and John, who are both educators. Patricia is a Professor of Nursing at Fort Hays State University. Tom is very involved in the community, where he has volunteered locally on the Board of Directors for High Plains Mental Health Center (2006-Present) and Ellis County Historical Society (2004-Present). He has also served as a BSA Troop 101 Assistant Scoutmaster (2009-Present), Immaculate Heart of Mary Confirmation Catechist (2005-Present) and on Parish Counsel (3 terms – totaling 17 years).
“I want to ensure that all who appear before me have a judge with integrity, who is independent, impartial, and neutral at all times, and who is able to fairly assess the merits of the case without prejudice or bias, with the ultimate goal of achieving justice,” Drees said.
Drees’ experience in the courtroom has been recognized by state leaders with several judicial appointments. “During my professional career, I have served as the governor’s appointed prosecutor to the Kansas Sentencing Commission (2007-2012); appointed prosecutor to the Kansas Recodification Commission – the redrafting of the Kansas Criminal Code (2009-2010); and am currently serving the Kansas Attorney General as an appointed prosecutor to the Kansas Sexual Violent Predator Commitment Review Committee (2011-Present), and as an appointed prosecutor on the Kansas Supreme Court Pretrial Justice Committee (2018-Present). Locally, I’ve served as the selected prosecutor to the Northwest Kansas Community Corrections and Juvenile Justice Board since 1996. Under my leadership, Ellis County sentenced 3,371 felons – 1,081 to prison, in fiscal years 1998-2019.”
His commitment to an efficient judicial system is a top priority. “I will work diligently and meticulously to assist litigants and court staff to set hearings in a timelier fashion. I will openly communicate with the parties and properly prepare for each hearing and issue that will come before me, to know the relevant issues, statutes and case law necessary to decide the matter. I will timely issue opinions to the litigants to ensure justice is not delayed, and I will dedicate my full time and attention to accomplishing the judicial tasks entrusted to me,” Drees said.
“Every litigant that appears before a court has a right to expect their judge to be neutral, independent, impartial, whose integrity cannot be questioned. Proper court procedure requires a fair, open and timely hearing before a qualified and independent judge who has the ability to fairly assess the merits of the case without prejudice or bias. I believe my years of experience in the law – and in life – will allow me to be such a judge. If elected judge, I will faithfully and diligently perform my duties to efficiently handle the cases and controversies that come before me. I will explore innovative ways to help move litigants’ cases forward expeditiously, without jeopardizing their right to a fair trial and a timely decision,” Drees said.
“For nearly 31 years, I have had the honor and privilege of serving the public as a lawyer and prosecuting attorney. Now, with the public’s consent, I will continue to serve the public as District Judge of the 23rd Judicial District. With my years of courtroom experience, including scores of jury trials, I am prepared to use my experience to make tough and fair-minded decisions as your District Judge.”
Advance voting for the August 4 election is now available at the County Clerk’s office in each of Rooks, Ellis, Trego, and Gove counties. Advance voting ends at Noon, on Monday, August 3rd. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, August 4, 2020.
“I would encourage everyone to exercise their right to vote,” Drees said.