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New deputy district attorney joins prosecutor’s staff
Wallowa County’s new deputy district attorney, Greg Baxter Jr., joined the prosecutor’s staff Nov. 1 and hit the ground running.
“I’ve gone to quite a few meetings, primarily dealing with child abuse and domestic violence,” said Baxter.
His understanding of the issue is, in fact, what got him the job. District Attorney Mona Williams said she presented a domestic violence hypothetical situation to each of the five interviewees.
Williams said, “I asked, ‘How would you handle the situation, what is your first thought?’ and he asked whether or not there were any children around.”
Williams said she was impressed with the answer. “There are a lot of things we do differently when there are children involved. It was the best response for Wallowa County.”
Fifty percent of Baxter’s position will be covered by a three-year federal Violence Against Women Act grant run through Safe Harbors, a nonprofit assisting victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. The other half is funded from the DA’s budget, said Williams.
Baxter grew up in Baker City and attended BYU- Idaho where he met his wife, Kacey. After law school in Florida he said he didn’t think he’d come back West — what with the beach and Disney World so close by, but Florida’s bad economy prompted them to look around Eastern Oregon for their next home.
Kacey Baxter grew up south of Jackson, Wyo., and Wallowa County reminds her of home.
“I knew she would love it,” said Baxter.
He said they look forward to raising their girls in a small community, using the local tennis courts, and he may eventually look into refereeing basketball games.
Baxter grew up in the home of a district attorney, and has experienced his father’s “prosecution” as witness and suspect.
Greg Baxter Sr. is now a circuit judge and this summer the aspiring prosecutor followed his father around to get a real-world view of the courtroom.
Of the bar, Baxter said, “It was a beast,” yet he passed it on the first try and landed a job within a month of receiving his results.
Williams said besides his credentials, she felt that Baxter understands the tenor of the county.
“Living and working here is not the same as Portland, Boise or even Pendleton,” said Williams. “He gets rural life and will do a good job for the people who live here.”