By Nita Johnson
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
Although he smiled and joked before and after the ceremony, Tom Jensen was solemn as he took the vow as Laurel/Knox Circuit Judge on Monday morning.
Laurel/Knox Senior Circuit Judge Gregory Lay officiated the swearing in of Jensen, while the circuit courtroom was filled with friends, family, and former partners.
Lay said Jensen had shown his ability as a state legislator to “cross the aisle” between Republican and Democrat issues to work for the betterment of the state while he served in Frankfort and he was sure that Jensen would be a fair and just judge.
Jensen said he was honored Lay performed the swearing in ceremony, adding that he was on the committee who nominated Lay for the judgeship when former circuit judge Lewis Hopper retired for medical reasons.
Having made many speeches in Frankfort during his legislative experience, Jensen said he had no speech for Monday’s ceremony.
“I said when I left Frankfort I was finished making speeches,” he said, as the crowd laughed. “But I thank each of you for being here and I will try to be fair. I’ve got a lot to learn.”
Jensen, a long-time legislator, resigned that position when a vacancy opened in the circuit court system due to the early retirement of former circuit judge, John Knox Mills. His campaign as circuit judge also forced his resignation from any political affiliation as well as terminating his private law practice.
Jensen said in a prior interview he liked to do different things and when the opening came for a circuit judge, he tossed his hat in the ring. He withdrew his name as a contender for re-election for state Senate and traded that campaign for an unopposed seat as Laurel/Knox Circuit Judge.