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Ben Susman

  • Updated

Municipality: Cayuga County

Office sought: Cayuga County Surrogate's Court Judge

Political party (or parties): Democrat, Working Families

Age: 42

Family information: Maggie (Johengen) Susman - Wife; Bodin Susman (5) - Son; Ruby Susman (3) - Daughter

Professional and previous political experience: Susman Law Firm: Auburn NY - Solo practice that has grown 3x in three years. Focus of practice is assigned counsel work in family court, criminal defense both misdemeanors and felonies and appeals. Trained as an attorney for child (AFC) to represent children in custody, neglect, juvenile delinquency and adolescent offender (Raise the Age) matters; Sunja’s Kimchi: Waterbury, VT - Drafted and reviewed supplier contracts, NDA’s and licensing agreements. Advised on numerous legal issues, including labor and employment law, compliance and corporate tax structures. Collected data to determine and improve bottom line including cost of goods sold, labor, margin analysis and other KPI’s; Cox Wootton Lerner Griffin & Hansen, LLP: Los Angeles, CA - Associate attorney for the West Coast’s premier maritime civil litigation law firm. Directly handled all phases of litigation and negotiation for claims involving environmental, insurance, shipping, transportation, employment law, worker’s compensation and personal injury claims.

Education: Juris Doctor (2009) - Roger Williams University School of Law: Bristol, RI;  Bachelor of Science (2002) - Wildlife & Fisheries Biology & Management - School of Natural Resources University of Vermont: Burlington, VT

Message to voters: It has been a pleasure and a privilege to connect with so many people from across the county while campaigning for Cayuga County Surrogate Court Judge. What I hear most, regardless of party affiliation, is an overwhelming concern for families in our county. I opened my private local law practice after settling in the area with my wife Maggie (Johengen), an Auburn native. We are proud to be raising our children in such a diverse and supportive community—our forever home.

As an attorney, I represent members of our community in a wide range of legal cases. I have fought for children in custody, neglect, and delinquency cases in Family Court. I have helped facilitate adoptions and guardianships in the Surrogate’s Court. I have also represented clients in the criminal courts. I see firsthand the effects of a judge’s decisions on people’s lives.

When people think of “judge” they often think of putting criminals in jail. That is certainly part of the job. However, more than 90% percent of cases that come before Cayuga County Surrogate Court Judge are of a civil nature – things like child custody, divorce, child neglect, adoptions, and estates. That’s why it’s critical for our next elected county judge to have experience not only in criminal courts, but in all the courts under their jurisdiction. As the only candidate with experience in all four courts (surrogate’s, family, civil, and criminal), I am the best qualified to preside over the important cases that impact families and individuals across the county.

The most essential quality in a judge is objectivity. It is important to remember that the laws in our community are not mere guidelines, but concrete rules that are in place to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone. Our next judge must be objective in each case that comes before them. On the campaign trail, I talk a lot about the integrity of the rule of law. Every person in Cayuga County—regardless of race, gender, economic status, or political affiliation—can rest assured that should they ever appear in my court room, their matters will be handled with fairness, integrity, and professionalism.

The Surrogate Court Judge is a ten-year position, which makes it an extremely consequential role. The decisions made will directly affect a generation of our kids, and our entire community will feel those effects. Every day, I will bring to the bench my core values of compassion, integrity, and respect for the rule of law, ensuring that the next generation of kids will be treated fairly and with care in our justice system.

When elected, I will work tirelessly to ensure the backlog of cases due to the COVID-19 pandemic are resolved efficiently, effectively, and in adherence to the law. I am ready to move this county forward, starting on day one. I ask that you vote for me for Cayuga County Surrogate’s Court Judge on November 2nd to ensure the values of our community are represented and reflected on the bench.


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