The UL chapter of Society of Professional Journalists is sponsoring a debate among the three candidates for state District Court, Division M, which will take place on the University of Louisiana campus Monday afternoon.

Kay Karré Gautreaux, Marshall Montgomery and Susan Theall will debate in Room 241 of Burke-Hawthorne Hall at 1 p.m. The debate is open to the public. 

All three candidates are UL alumni, and all three are Republicans. The primary election on Oct. 22 is to fill the vacancy created when District Judge Phyllis Montgomery Keaty was elected to the 3rd Court of Appeal last year. If needed, a runoff will be held Nov. 19.

The Division M court is devoted largely to family law cases and is one of 13 district courts in the 15th Judicial District, which encompasses Lafayette, Acadia and Vermilion parishes.

The candidates will be questioned by a panel of local journalists:
Emily Henagan, a reporter for The Independent Weekly; Zane Hill, managing editor of The Vermilion, the UL student weekly; Mark Magnoli, a reporter with KATC-TV 3; and Kris Wartele, a reporter with The Daily Advertiser.

The debate is open to the public.

From the candidates' websites:

Kay Karré Gautreaux
“I feel like I walk in his shoes every day,” Kay Karré Gautreaux says of her father, Albert. “He demonstrated the good in lawyers; he was like Atticus Finch to me.” A prosecutor serving the people of Lafayette for 14 years and thereafter the City Attorney, Albert M. Karré, Sr., through his vivid example, formed in young Kay the virtues she still admires today: Justice, Honor, Fairness. He taught her to treat people with dignity. He taught her about justice, that every court owes every person fairness. His example made respect for public service and the rule of law an essential part of who Kay is.
Kay’s mother, Inez Boustany Karré, embodied steadfast faith. She was a model of their Catholic faith, instilling in her a gritty determination to achieve success through hard work in school as well as an abiding sense of obligation to help those less fortunate. Inez grew up working in the family department store where she was a buyer before having a family. After the Karrés’ six children were grown, she took up a second career in real estate, purchasing and remodeling properties all around Lafayette. In 2010, she was recognized with the Woman of Excellence award. Kay learned these lessons well, and went on to be Our Lady of Fatima High School’s valedictorian, first in her class. At the University of Southwestern Louisiana (now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette), she finished magna cum laude with a degree in political science. She then earned a law degree from LSU.
The family is still close-knit. “All six of us graduated from Our Lady of Fatima, and all six of us graduated from the USL (now ULL).” Like many from small-town Louisiana, work was a big part of Kay’s childhood. She spent afternoons, weekends and summers working to save money – mowing grass and washing cars. In high school, she delivered flowers for LeFleur’s, and had a campus job while a college student at USL. “My parents knew it was important for us to have a strong work ethic, that we learned early in life the value of hard work, setting goals and saving for them.”
But most important, most fundamental, to her life has always been faith. “Msgr. Sigur was a great influence on me. He was a devoted priest who brought young people back to the church and was dedicated to serving all people, especially the poor.” Always active in the church, Kay was the youngest lay Eucharistic minister at Fatima. As an adult, she has remained faithful to the parish and school, serving as president of the school’s Foundation board of directors, president of the alumni council, chairman of the Fatima Foundation’s Blue and Gold Committee, and president of the Fatima Athletic Booster Club.
Now with her own family, she and her husband pray with their children in the very same pews she knelt in as a child. “My family is my strength and my joy. Still to this day, my role model for family life is my mother. She was a devoted wife and mother.” When not working, Kay can usually be found with her family. “I love to watch any sport my children participate in: volleyball, football, basketball, baseball, and track & field. I believe that by involving yourself in your child’s life, you are strengthening the fabric of the community. Strong families make strong communities.”
She continues to draw upon the well of faith, a resource which has deepened through the years. In her professional life, she believes public service ought to be service – that our leaders should serve the people. Her career of service began early. Fresh out of law school, she was admitted to the bar in 1987 and served as law clerk for Judge Bennett J. Gautreaux of the Fifteenth Judicial District Court. She caught the eye of the federal court and was selected for a prestigious clerkship under Chief Judge John M. Shaw of the United States District Court, Western District of Louisiana. “I have special admiration for District Judges John M. Shaw and Richard T. Haik. They showed me the temperament of a good jurist, and they shared a commitment to fairness.” She was admitted to the federal bar, the United States Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit, the United States Supreme Court, and the Lafayette Parish Bar Association. She served on the Lafayette Parish Bar Association board of directors, was a member of both the Lafayette Volunteer Lawyers (of which she was president) and is a barrister in the John M. Duhe Inns of Court.
Moving into private practice, she has continued to hone her craft across a wide range of areas in both state and federal courts – everything from family law to civil and criminal litigation. Her sharp legal mind and excellent attention to detail have won respect. She was named the Outstanding Young Lawyer for Louisiana in 1996 and has received honors from the Louisiana State Bar Association Foundation the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She also remains mindful of the scriptural admonition to ensure justice comes equally to rich and poor alike, serving as a federal public defender and working in indigent defense.
On top of her dedication to her profession, she keeps finding ways to give back to the communities which have given her so much. She is a sustainer in the Junior League of Lafayette, a member of the alumni council for Delta Delta Delta, a member of the LSU Alumni Association and served the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Board of Directors. She was even president of the Krewe des Jeunes Amis in 2009.
Kay has built a life of faithful diligence, achieving excellence through hard work. She is known for her outstanding legal mind, but more importantly for her decency and character. We can trust Kay Karré Gautreaux to be a judge who will bring honor to the bench and never let us down.
Grad School: LSU Law Center
College: University of Southern Louisiana, Political science
High School: Our Lady of Fatima Academy
    President of the school’s Foundation board of directors, President of the alumni council, Chairman of the Fatima Foundation’s Blue and Gold Committee, and President of the Fatima Athletic Booster Club
Religious Views: Catholic
Political Views: Conservative Republicans

Marshall M. Montgomery
"Born and raised in Lafayette, I am married, raising two children, and have been practicing law in Acadiana for the past twenty years. I know the meaning of and adhere to strong family values. All of my brothers and sisters live and work in the community. My real life experiences include working in the oil field during college, opening my law practice, and being a husband and father. I know what it means to work hard, sacrifice for family, and earn a living. My legal knowledge, work experience, and family values enable me to bring fairness and compassion to the bench.  I am running for District Judge - Family Court and I ask for your support."
Married to Patricia for 21 years
Two Children: Shelby (18) and James (15)
Lifelong resident of Lafayette, Louisiana
A graduate of Lafayette High School - Class of 1978
A graduate of USL now UL - Class of 1982
Honor Air Chaperone
Lafayette Little League Baseball All Stars Coach
Girls Softball Coach
Board member of Lafayette General Medical Center Membership Committee
Past Board Member of the Lafayette Alzheimer's Association
Past Board Member of the Lafayette YMCA
Successful Practice of Law for over 20 years with wife, Patricia
Tried and settled hundreds of cases
Member of Louisiana State and Lafayette Parish Bar Associations
Member of Paula Woodruff Family Law Section
Past Board Member of the Lafayette Parish Bar Association
Past Member of the Lafayette Parish Realtors Association
Past Louisiana State Bank Examiner
Worked in the Oilfield through College
Offshore-On Shore Rig Worker
Rig Mover

Susan M. Theall
About: Susan is a board certified family law specialist, a designation granted by the Louisiana State Bar Association Board of Legal Specialization.
Political Views: Conservative
Awards: Named as a Super Lawyer, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. The Super Lawyer selection process is a comprehensive and detailed attempt to produce a list of lawyers that have attained high peer recognition, meet ethical standards and have demonstrated some degree of achievement in their field.  Only 5 percent of Louisiana lawyers are selected for inclusion in Super Lawyers.
Religious Views: Catholic
Activities: Ms. Theall was a founding member of the Paula K. Woodruff Family Law Section of the Lafayette Parish Bar Association and served as President, Vice President, and Treasurer. In addition, she served in the same capacity for the Family Law Section of the Louisiana State Bar Association.
Always striving to educate the community and her constituents, Ms. Theall is a frequent lecturer on Family Law topics and a teacher of Continuing Education classes.
A leader in her craft, Ms. Theall was a member of the first committee to study and make recommendations concerning the establishment of a Family Court in the 15th Judicial District Court and a member of the first rules committee.
Other areas where she has dedicated her time and expertise are the Family Court liaison committee and the committee to evaluate implementation of Family Courts of the Louisiana State Bar Association, to name a few.
Interests: Ms. Theall has been involved in the Lafayette community. She has served on the Advisory Board of Faith House, on the Board of the Lafayette Parish Bar Association, is a former Chair of The Lafayette Volunteer Lawyers and is a member of the Chamber of Commerce and the Acadiana Republican Women.
Education Info: 
   Grad School: Loyola University New Orleans '85, Juris Doctor, Law
   College: University of Louisiana at Lafayette '80, B.A., English, Journalism


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