BIG RAPIDS — In law careers spanning decades, Peter Jaklevic and Kimberley Booher have likely experienced an evolution in style, and Tuesday they each added a new item of clothing to their work attire — a judge’s robe.

Family, friends, co-workers and community officials packed into the Mecosta County Circuit Courtroom to witness the swearing-in of the county’s new district court judge and new circuit court judge.

Before Booher and Jaklevic took the oath of office, Mecosta County’s four current judges spoke about the two newcomers and the importance of the role of judge.

Circuit Court Judge Scott Hill-Kennedy has worked closely with Booher and Jaklevic for many years, he said, and is confident they have the experience, integrity, professional competence and other assets to do excellent work as judge.

“I know they will serve our community well and uphold the standards of our courts,” Hill-Kennedy said. “They not only earned it with their experience and the good qualities they have, but they went above and beyond every night and every weekend for months and months to demonstrate they wanted this position. They deserved to earn it and I’m proud to call these folks my colleagues.”

Mecosta and Osceola County Probate Judge Marco Menezes also is looking forward to serving on the bench with Booher and Jaklevic, whom he’s had the pleasure of working with throughout the years, he said.

Retiring District Court Judge Susan Grant, whom Jaklevic replaces, and retiring Circuit Court Judge Ron Nichols, whom Booher replaces, spoke during the ceremony as well.

While other states have judges appointed, Michigan elects judges, Nichols said.

“I think this state should be proud of the fact that we get to elect our judges from our local communities to represent us,” he said.

The four judges serving in both Osceola and Mecosta counties all contributing and working together as a team has helped the court system run smoothly, Grant said, and she’s happy to know that will continue.

“I couldn’t imagine two people better to be team players and to take our places than Judge Jaklevic and Judge Booher,” Grant said. “I’m so pleased they will be joining the team and bringing all the qualities they have from their professional life, such as their work ethic and integrity, to what has been a successful operation of the trial court system in Mecosta and Osceola counties.”

Once they had taken the oath of office and were sworn in by Mecosta County Clerk Marcee Purcell, Jaklevic and Booher were both presented their robes by their parents and significant others.

Each of them thanked those who helped during their campaigns and careers.

“I would like to specifically thank my parents for bringing me up, even though they sometimes may not have thought I was making the best decisions. They’ve done a great job bringing me where I am today,” Booher said. “And my wonderful husband, who’s the wind beneath my wings. He’s the person who’s always in my shadows and actually the best support I have.”

While he is anxious to get started on the bench, Jaklevic acknowledged it will be a change after many years in the Mecosta County Prosecutor’s Office.

“I’ve got some new work in front of me after being a prosecutor for 20 years now and I’m excited about the new job, but I’d be remiss to say that I’m not going to miss my old one,” he said. “I had a great staff that made me look great. They did such a great job.”

Because Jaklevic and Booher will serve both Osceola and Mecosta counties, they also were sworn-in in Reed City after the ceremony in Big Rapids.