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Jensen: Supports Brandli for District Court Judge

Dear Islanders,

We first met the Brandlis when we had just moved to the island and were checking out various day cares for our son Henry. It was on our final stop that we met a little boy named Ro, who walked right up to Henry and began to play with him as we talked to the teachers and the director. They became fast friends as 2 year olds often do.

A couple of days later when I was picking Henry up, another couple came to pick up there child. I was surprised to see that this white couple was picking up their African American child. We learned that they were foster parents and had Ro with them since he was an infant. Right away I was struck by the bond they had as a family, BJ was outwardly sunny and friendly and Steve was polite and calm. Ro clearly adored them and they him. In fact, it was because of the Brandlis that we decided to begin our own journey as foster parents and asked them for lots of advice and looked to them for basic information and comfort when navigating the complex foster care system.

When BJ and Steve were presented with the opportunity to adopt Ro, they chose instead to work with a family who Ro could more easily identify with growing up. I know what some people might be thinking, how could they "give away" the child that they raised? It was simple, Steve and his wife knew that Ro's life and his future was more important than what they needed for themselves. They knew that having Ro grow up with siblings and parents who looked similar to him would help him find his own identity easier.

A few months later we brought home our first foster child (who we would end up adopting a year later). She was really shy, she was nervous and scared. I kept her close to me, carrying her around on my hip everywhere we went. She spoke just a little bit and was clearly nervous. One day that week, I took her into Market Chef, Steve was there sitting with his wife having lunch. I said hello to them and introduced our foster daughter and our foster daughter literally DOVE out of my arms and right into Steve's lap.

What is that saying? Never trust people that animals and kids don't like? While Steve talked to her and asked her questions, his wife doted on her and I just watched as our girl just began to shine in all the light they cast upon her.

Over the years we have had 2 legal issues where we needed advice, Steve was always the first one we would call. What I liked best about him was that even though we considered him a friend he was very straightforward, professional and realistic with us. He delivered information to us in such a calm way that even if the news was bad, we felt safe and trusted the choices he made.

I am so thankful that we met little Ro that day (incidentally Steve and BJ give us updates on Ro and are still very much involved with him as family friends), and that the Brandlis came into our lives. Without them, we would not have our daughter. We know that no matter what is going on, if we need help with our kids, someone to join our fundraiser, legal advice or just a kind hello on the sidewalk we can count on them.

I can't imagine voting for anyone other than Steve Brandli. I know that he has the heart and mind to listen, carefully organize facts, be sensitive to a person's story and so many other factors when it comes to making sometimes hard choices in a court room.

Sara Jensen

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