The former state legislator was appointed by Gov. Mary Fallin to fill the remainder of Lucas’ four-year term. Balkman will be on the ballot in 2014 for a four-year term. An additional district judgeship, Cleveland County’s fourth, also will be on the 2014 ballot.
“I was really humbled that the governor selected me because there was some really good, qualified people that applied,” Balkman said
Being a judge is not Balkman’s only priority. A bishop at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Balkman oversees a congregation of about 500 in the Norman 4th Ward.
“I’d like to think that everything I do in life is influenced by my faith. Because at the end of the day, rather I’m a judge, a legislator, a lawyer — those are just temporarily titles — my primary task is to be a good father and a follower of Christ. I don’t think I can divorce my faith from my daily life,” Balkman said.
As a judge, Balkman thinks that his faith will be an asset when he’s facing tough decisions.
“I’d like to think having the belief in a higher power, for me that’s Jesus Christ, does give me a pattern to follow. I think one of the challenges we all face is being true to our faith and also at the same time recognizing that we live in a free country. As a judge, I’m going to be asked to pass judgment on people who may have very different faiths than me or no faith. And when I’m a judge, I will treat everyone the same in the courtroom, I don’t care what your religion is because quite frankly that is something that won’t be brought before me,” Balkman said.
Balkman admits that spending about 20 hours a week with church obligations can be a stretch, but somehow he manages to fit it all in.