I am proud of my wife, Jen Fuller, for many reasons. One of the reasons is her involvement with the Advisory Committee on the Judicial Family Network (JFN). So, what is the JFN?
Well, before describing the JFN, let me tell you about an ongoing point of contention in our household. After I became a judge, my wife received a letter from the chief justice of the Ohio Supreme Court appointing her to the Advisory Committee on the JFN.
So, ever since then, my wife likes to periodically remind me that she got appointed to an Ohio Supreme Court Committee before I did. Not that we are competitive at all, but it does get under my skin just a little.
Anyway, according to the Ohio Supreme Court website, the Advisory Committee currently consists of 15 board members appointed by the chief justice of Ohio. The purpose of the committee is to provide ongoing advice to the Ohio Supreme Court and its staff regarding issues encountered by spouses, partners, children, and families of Ohio judges. It also offers strategies for responding to those issues, including the development and preparation of programs and activities on these issues.
The Advisory Committee on the JFN’s Mission Statement states it will: identify needs of Ohio judicial families to provide learning opportunities and a supportive networking environment; develop and present programs and activities to address issues judicial families may encounter and to offer strategies for responding to the issues; generate opportunities for spouses and partners of judges to meet and interact with one another in order to foster informal networks of support and communication.
I know that I am incredibly blessed to be able to serve the people of Delaware County as a judge. But, being a family member to a judge is an adjustment and can be difficult at times. That is why the JFN is so important. It helps to explain the “do’s and don’ts” and creates a network of individuals that can help and support each other.
The Ohio Judicial Family Network was started by Mary Moyer, wife of the late Chief Justice Thomas Moyer. While campaigning with her husband, Mrs. Moyer met people across the state who shared the unique challenges of being a family member to a judge.
The Advisory Committee on the JFN provides information and education on topics of concern and importance to judicial households and their extended family members. Among current areas of interest to judicial families are social media and online presence, trauma-informed care, home and travel security, ethics guidelines, judicial elections, and quality of life issues.
After I was first elected, Jen did an amazing job preparing my swearing-in ceremony. She did such a good job, the materials she used are now available through the JFN to spouses of newly elected judges to help plan their ceremony. Also, Jen recorded a video for the JFN about ideas and tips to consider when conducting a ceremony.
Last year when I was at the Ohio Supreme Court assisting with new judge orientation, a new judge saw my name and said to me, “Are you Jen’s husband? My wife and I have watched her video several times.”
I mistakenly told my wife about this encounter. And, now, she not only brings up the fact that the chief justice appointed her to a committee before appointing me, she also likes to remind me people know me at the Ohio Supreme Court as “Jen’s husband.” Again, not that we are competitive or anything.
Jen recently received a letter from Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Sharon Kennedy. The letter congratulated Jen on being appointed to a third term on the Advisory Committee on the Judicial Family Network. The JFN does a great job of assisting judicial family members, and I am proud of the role my wife serves on this committee.
Randall D. Fuller is judge of the Domestic Relations Division of the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas. Judge Fuller is a life-long resident of Delaware County.