As the first woman to be elected judge in Yuba County, Kathleen O’Connor won the office of Superior Court Judge in District 5, sweeping up 65.61 percent of the votes in her first attempt to run for the office.”I have always been very passionate about the law,” O’Connor said in an interview with the Appeal-Democrat in January. “I have always wanted to be in the law.”
O’Connor has been an active attorney for 28 years including four and a half years as a deputy district attorney for Yuba County. Currently, she serves as a State Appeals Attorney for the California State Board of Equalization. She has previously devoted many hours as Grand Jury foreperson and has served as a member of the Marysville Planning Commission and the Yuba College Foundation Board, as well as an advocate for a wide variety of community causes.
She believes that judges have a responsibility to be active members of the community. Very receptive to new ideas, O’Connor has found innovative ways to manage her busy caseload and organize her time. When asked what changes she would favor as Superior Court Judge, O’Connor promoted the idea of a possible night court for small claims and traffic violations. The court would be geared towards those who cannot take time off from work to get to court during the day.
O’Connor lives as a fourth generation resident of Yuba County with her husband Ric. They are “empty nesters.” Their three children, who were raised in Wheatland and attended local schools, no longer live at home. She and her husband live in a family home built by her great grandfather, who was a civil war veteran. The family continues to farm the walnut orchard that her parents planted.
She waxed nostalgic when recalling her past as a student, a graduate of Wheatland High School and Yuba College. Her mentor at Yuba College was Minerva Wooten, who insisted that she pursue a career in law and convinced her to attend Stanford University, and then on to University of California, Davis, Law School.
Significantly, O’Connor implemented the first grant-funded program through the D.A.’s office in Yuba County to deter domestic violence, the Spousal Abuse Prevention Program (SAPP).