NORWOOD — Attorney Alexander Lesyk has entered the race for St. Lawrence County Family Court judge.
Mr. Lesyk, of Norwood, announced his candidacy Wednesday morning and circulated nominating petitions around the village Wednesday night.
Running as a Democrat, Mr. Lesyk will face Republican challenger Andrew S. Moses, who announced his bid for the judge seat in February.
Current Family Court Judge Cecily L. Morris, whose 10-year term ends on Dec. 31, is not seeking re-election. Judge Morris, who defeated Mr. Moses in 2011, succeeded Judge Barbara R. Potter. Both women served single terms after Judge David S. Nelson held the position from 1983 until his 2001 retirement.
Mr. Lesyk is currently the principal court attorney for Judge Robert G. Main Jr., acting Family Court judge for Franklin County. He has worked for more than 30 years in family and criminal law, previously as chief assistant district attorney for St. Lawrence County. Before working in Franklin County Family Court, Mr. Lesyk taught as an associate professor of legal studies at SUNY Canton and chaired the university’s business department.
“I’m not going into this with any delusions,” Mr. Lesyk said Wednesday night outside a Harrison Street residence. “It’s a back-breaking job.”
Cases involving children, abuse, neglect, custody and domestic violence are heard in county Family Court, and Mr. Lesyk said he believes his experience has positioned him for the responsibility. He has successfully prosecuted child homicide and sex crimes cases, he added, and has represented children with special education needs in north country schools.
David R. and Susan J. Penepent were among the first to sign a nominating petition Wednesday. The Penepents, of Norwood, teach at SUNY Canton, and Mr. Penepent said he was “proud to endorse Mr. Lesyk.”
In the community, Mr. Lesyk currently serves as a board member for Maximizing Independent Living Choices, formerly the Massena Independent Living Center. He is a past member of the St. Lawrence County Workforce Investment Board’s Youth Council and coordinated the county’s annual High School Mock Trial Competition at SUNY Canton.
Certified to practice in U.S. Supreme Court, Mr. Lesyk holds a Denison Ray Criminal Defender Staff Award from the state Bar Association for his representation of low-income clients and is appointed to the state Unified Court System Tribal Courts Committee.
Mr. Lesyk graduated with a psychology degree from Columbia University and earned his law degree from Fordham University School of Law in 1982.
He lives with his wife of 38 years, Christina Lesyk, a licensed social worker and assistant professor of applied psychology at SUNY Canton. They have a son, Ian, who graduated from Chateaugay Central School and Cornell University with a degree in engineering.
His organizing committee is still being formalized, but includes Eric J. Gustafson, Massena-based attorney and municipal attorney for several communities in the county; Jondavid S. DeLong, SUNY Canton professor of legal studies; and Bill Mitchell, of Potsdam.
Petition circulation continues this week.