Eagle River, Wis., — Vilas County Circuit Court Judge candidate Meg O’Marro supported the establishment of a drug treatment court to work in concert with probation, jail, community addiction and mental health resources to alleviate the County’s growing addiction and overdose crisis during a March 26 Eagle
River conference of Wisconsin leaders.
Jay Wentworth of Empowered Affiliates Recovery, which guides people through recovery resources, organized the “Like Minds Addiction in Our Community” conference at Abundant Life Church. He brought together community members, leaders and substance abuse specialists to seek solutions. Wentworth also worked in recovery efforts at the Vilas jail.
Presenters included Empowered Affiliates Recovery, Jail Administrator Bill Weiss, Vilas Sheriffs Department Program Director Heather Gehrig, Tri-County Human Service Center’s Roberta Marcus, Native American Spiritual Mentor Richard McCoy, Koinonia Treatment Center Counselor Michele Sarkaukas, Shared Hope International’s (which addresses child and youth sex trafficking’s) Butch and Jean Fitzpatrick, and emergency response police and medical teams.
O’Marro, who is running for Branch 2 judge, was not a presenter, but attended the conference because of her concern for and life-long work protecting vulnerable children, adults and families.
Jail Administrator Weiss revealed Vilas County Jail had found success in reducing recurring arrest, reconviction and return to jail by 72 percent through its jail recovery program. When asked why he is working so hard to tackle recidivism, Weiss said, “Because it is the right thing to do.”
Applauding that accomplishment, O’Marro, a recent Vilas County Assistant Corporation Counsel, said she sees how mental health and substance abuse collide in the justice system, and urged leaders to seek solutions to an emerging problem of individuals becoming dependent on withdrawal medications, but having no resources to wean off those medications. “We must reach beyond sobriety, and attack post recovery issues,” O’Marro said. “We need to help these individuals free themselves from their dependence so they can start living productive lives. A drug court is a wellness court, where very encouraging groups of professionals come together to promote recovery from addiction. We can do this by welcoming medical experts and providers to table. This will promote community safety and growth. There are different times in drug treatment court: a time to be strict, a time to be loving, a time to encourage continued good behavior and a time to sanction.”
Thrilled at how so many people are coming together to stop the cycle of abuse, O’Marro said, a drug court will help stop the cycle of abuse and give offenders the support they need. “Most people with substance abuse have faced significant trauma in their lives. What I have seen in my legal career is that offenders are put on probation and ordered to follows rules,. but are not given the resources they need to stay super. Therefore there is a repeat cycle of abuse and criminal conduct. Drug treatment court has proven effect in stopping this cycle.”
O’Marro’s innovational work in these and other areas has earned her the support David Prosser, the retired Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice.
Judicial races are non-partisan, and people of all political persuasions including former Vilas County District Attorney and Democrat Steve Lucareli and Vilas County Republican Party Chair Carol Cady are among many supporting Meg O’Marro for judge.
The Branch 2 Circuit includes Arbor Vitae, Boulder Junction, Cloverland, Conover, Eagle River, Lac du Flambeau, Land O’ Lakes, Lincoln, Manitowish Waters, Phelps, Plum Lake, Presque Isle, St. Germain, Washington and Winchester townships. O’Marro lives in Eagle River and represented Vilas County in civil matters impacting the welfare of citizens, preservation of natural resources and function of governing agencies.
O’Marro lives in Eagle River and her connection to Vilas County spans 50 years.
About Meg O’Marro
A Vilas County’s Assistant Corporation Counsel from 2017 through April 2021, O’Marro represented Vilas County in civil matters impacting the welfare of citizens, preservation of natural resources and function of governing agencies. She has also served children in need of protection or services, adults at risk, mental health commitments, child support, paternity, and truancy. Meg’s work serves people of all ages, races and backgrounds.
Meg O’Marro handled 969 cases in Vilas County in just three years, eight months as Vilas County Assistant Corporation Counsel, in contrast to her opponent Daniel Overbey has handled only 56 Vilas County cases in the 18 years he has lived and worked here. This information was recorded in public court records supplied by Vilas County Clerk of Courts Beth Soltow.
Meg has worked with Native American families under the Indian Child Wellfare Act, protecting their cultures and traditions and families.
A proud mother of five children, Meg O’Marro’s community involvement included being a member of Vilas County’s Drug Endangered Children Task Force, Truancy Task Force and Child Death Review Team. Licensed by the State Bar of Wisconsin and a member in good standing since 1992. O’Marro’s areas of practice include civil, administrative, municipal, public records, children’s, elder and disability, family, criminal, probation and parole, juvenile and appellate law . She has served in the public sector as a prosecutor and in the private sector as defense counsel skilled in court procedure and evidentiary law.
In addition to her work for Vilas and Milwaukee counties, O’Marro was an attorney with Sterling Law Offices from 2015-17, obtaining a not guilty verdict in a criminal trial, a dismissal in a felony case and the relicensing of a foster parent wrongly accused of misconduct. She represented family law litigants and presented family law seminars.
Meg owned and operated O’Marro Law Offices, LLC from 2004-15 providing legal representation to individuals in civil, children’s, juvenile, elder and disability, family, criminal, probation and parole, and appellate law matters. She served as guardian ad lite for children and adults at risk.
From 1992- 2004, Meg was a family, criminal, probation and parole, and appellate law attorney for Felli Law and from 1992-94, an Associate Attorney in those areas and real estate law for Nelson Law. O’Marro began her legal career at the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, Dayton, Ohio, serving as Law Clerk to the Honorable John M. Meagher and to the Court Administrator.
Meg earned her Juris Doctor Law degree in 1992 from the University of Dayton, School of Law, where she was selected for the Regional Moot Court Team and earned the Dean’s Award for work entitled Law and the Mentally Disabled.
A University of Wisconsin, Madison graduate, Meg earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1988, majoring in Political Science.
For more information about Meg O’Marro’s campaign call (715-617-3482)