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Peterson files for election as Hill County attorney


Hill County Attorney Cyndee Peterson is running for election to the position she was appointed to in August.

Peterson will seek election to the two years remaining of the four-year term left vacant last year by former County Attorney David Rice. She could then run for a full four-year term in 2006.

Peterson, a Democrat, has never sought public office before.

"It's nerve-racking," she said Tuesday.

"I'm new to all this. In that sense it's been hard, but everyone has been really helpful."

Peterson said one of the hardest things will be waiting to see if anyone files to run against her. The deadline for filing is March 25.

"I feel anxious," she said. "You have to wait for 60 days for the filing dates to close."

In August the Hill County Commission chose Peterson to replace Rice as county attorney after he was appointed to a state district judgeship. Rice was nominated for the position by Gov. Judy Martz after his predecessor, John Warner, became a state Supreme Court justice. Rice had served in the County Attorney's Office for more than 30 years.

Prior to Peterson's appointment to replace Rice, she had served as deputy county attorney for 2 years. She said Tuesday that her duties as the county's lead attorney are much the same as they were before her promotion.

"It's really been a smooth transition all the way through the office," she said.

"It's been an easy transition for us, because Dave always involved me in every process," she added. "I don't want to say they were easy shoes to fill, but the transition was easy."

Peterson was raised in Circle. She received a bachelor's degree from the University of Montana before attending law school at the University of Akron in Akron, Ohio. She was admitted to the Montana State Bar in 1997, and worked in Chester as the deputy Liberty County attorney before working as a clerk in Warner's office. In January 2001, Rice appointed her deputy Hill County attorney.

The Hill County attorney is responsible for prosecuting all felony cases within the county and misdemeanors in Hill County Justice Court and advises county officials on legal matters. The position pays $66,283 a year.


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