BANGOR, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage swore in the first person to become a judge in his administration in a brief ceremony Friday morning at the Penobscot Judicial Center.
Gregory Campbell, 50, of Hampden was surrounded by family, friends, his former colleagues and fellow judges in the Penobscot County District Attorney’s offices when he took the oath to become a District Court judge.
“He comes to the bench very, very experienced and knowledgeable about the laws of Maine,” LePage said before administering the oath of office to Campbell.
Campbell, who worked as an assistant district attorney in Penobscot and Piscataquis counties for more than two decades, was nominated by the governor on May 22 and confirmed by the Senate on June 3.
Campbell’s former boss, R. Christopher Almy, district attorney for Penobscot and Picataquis counties, was not able to attend. He was in a different courtroom in the judicial center at a sentencing.
“This is a wonderful experience,” Campbell said after the ceremony. “It’s a great honor.”
Campbell’s wife, Margaret Campbell, who also is a lawyer, and the couple’s three children, Katie Campbell, 19, Greg Campbell, 17, and Billy Campbell, 14, all of Hampden, were congratulated by LePage, Chief Justice Leigh I. Saufley and other officials at a reception sponsored by the Penobscot County Bar Association after the swearing-in ceremony.
The new judge’s parents, Charles and Eleanor Campbell of Brewer, and his sister Marie Carolan of Wellesley, Mass.,also attended the ceremony.
Campbell told reporters at the reception that being a judge was something he had thought about over the years.
“I never thought I’d be fortunate enough to be here,” he said.
Campbell, who is a Republican, said in May that as a practical matter it would have been unusual for him to be appointed to the bench during the previous Democratic administration of John Baldacci.
The jurist Campbell said he intended to emulate retired U.S. Magistrate Judge Eugene Beaulieu, who served as a state judge before moving to the federal bench.
“He was so fair,” Campbell said. “He treated everyone in the courtroom with such respect. His is the standard I’d like to aspire to.”
Brewer police Officer Dan Costain is one of several members of his department who attended Friday’s event. He attributed to Campbell qualities the policeman believes will allow the new judge to achieve that goal.
“He’s passionate, he makes good decisions, he listens and he thinks quick on his feet,” said Costain, who worked for more than 20 years with Campbell, the now former prosecutor.
Judicial appointments are for seven years. A District Court judge’s salary is about $112,000 a year.
Campbell will fill a position left vacant by Roland Beaudoin, who retired recently, according to Mary Ann Lynch, spokeswoman for the court system.
Campbell said after Friday’s ceremony that he would begin working later this month in Biddeford before presiding permanently in Bangor later in the year.
A graduate of Brewer High School, Campbell graduated from Bates College in Lewiston and the University of Maine School of Law in Portland.
He went to work in 1985 as a prosecutor in Bangor. In the early 1990s, Campbell moved to the private sector for two years at Richardson, Troubh & Badger in Bangor, then served as a special assistant in the U.S Attorney’s Office.
He rejoined the Penobscot County District Attorney’s Office in 1995.
Because Campbell’s judicial robes had not yet arrived Friday, Campbell donned the robe usually worn by U.S. Magistrate Judge Margaret Kravchuk for the ceremony. Kravchuk was the Penobscot County district attorney when Campbell worked in her office as a summer intern while in law school in the early 1980s.