Adam R. Panter, First Assistant District Attorney for District 23, announces his candidacy for District Attorney in District 23 for Pottawatomie and Lincoln Counties.

“The citizens of this district deserve a strong, experienced, and well-qualified candidate who truly understands the immense responsibility bestowed upon the District Attorney. I believe that I am the only candidate who can carry that responsibility wisely and with integrity. I intend on seeking justice in a manner that is firm yet fair, zealous and aggressive, yet understanding, despite race, creed, or socioeconomic status,” Panter said.

Current District Attorney Richard L. Smothermon has decided not to seek a fifth term.

Panter is passionate about continuing to serve the people of Pottawatomie and Lincoln counties where he has been an Assistant District Attorney since graduating from law school in 2008. His experience includes prosecution of thousands of criminal offenses, investigation and prosecution of 60 homicides and 80 jury trials. Panter has successfully prosecuted some of the most egregious crimes, including cases involving death, abuse, molestation, and neglect of children.

“My passion to seek justice for child victims has lead me to specialize in the investigation and prosecution of child deaths and abuse. That fight will remain extremely important to me,” Panter said.

Panter desires to continue dialogue and negotiations with legislators and leadership at Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform on common sense criminal justice reform. Part of that approach is launching a juvenile drug court pilot program. A member of Pottawatomie County Drug Court team, he has witnessed firsthand that sending an offender to prison as punishment is not the only answer.

“While the safety of the community is first and foremost in my mind, there are times it is better for the community as a whole to help people get the treatment they need to become productive members of society,” Panter said. “My belief is that the solution requires attacking the root of the problem, which requires greater emphasis on education, funding, and easier access to substance abuse and mental health treatment.”

Panter is dedicated to carrying on momentum achieved by Smothermon to build and develop the community’s Family Justice Center. “Its function is essential to assisting the needs of the most vulnerable among us during some of the most trying times of their lives. My commitment to that development will only cast a wider net in providing invaluable services to those Oklahomans who need them most,” Panter said.

Panter was raised in Stilwell, where generations of his family have resided since the 1830s. He graduated from Stilwell High School and the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor’s degree in Zoology. At OU, Panter was an offensive lineman from 1999-2003 under Head Coach Bob Stoops and was a member of the 2000 National Championship team and multiple Big XII championship teams. Panter received his J.D. from the Oklahoma City University School of Law.

Panter and his wife, Jennifer, a native of Shawnee, met at OU and married in 2004. They reside in Shawnee with their two children.

Note: This is a candidate announcements. Candidates can submit announcements (no more than 500 words) by emailing them to: kimberly.morava@news-star.com before May 28, 2018. Pictures can be included.