Lancaster County Public Defender Joe Nigro has announced his re-election campaign for a second four-year term.

Four years ago, Nigro said he vowed to continue the tradition of the office by providing the highest quality legal representation while accomplishing three specific goals.

He wanted to add a social worker to serve the many clients with mental health and substance-abuse issues, to establish a mental health court that would reduce the number of people with mental health issues caught up in the criminal justice system, and to participate in criminal justice reform efforts.

In a news release announcing his re-election campaign, Nigro said he believes those goals and others have been achieved.

The public defender’s office represents low-income people accused of crimes who can’t afford a private attorney.

In his second term, Nigro said he hopes to “maintain the high quality of legal representation by the public defender’s office while ending the criminalization of poverty by working to end the money bond system.”

He also will work to reduce the number of people with mental health issues in the criminal justice system by completing the work on establishing mental health courts, and by advocating for an increase of mental health services in the state and community.

“Accomplishing these goals will ultimately reduce crime, treat people more humanely, increase safety and save the taxpayers money,” Nigro said in a news release.

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Nigro, who has worked in the Lancaster County Public Defender’s office for 34 years, was first elected public defender in 2014.

County offices are elected on a partisan basis. Nigro, a Democrat, will seek the Democratic nomination in the May primary election.

Former Mayor Don Wesely is the honorary chair of Nigro's campaign. 

Nigro will hold a campaign kickoff celebration 5-7 p.m. Tuesday at the N Zone, 728 Q St.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7250 or nhicks@journalstar.com

On Twitter @LJSNancyHicks.



Nancy Hicks reports on Lincoln city government, but she’s been following the leaders of local and state government for more than 40 years.

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