Sheree H. Lancaster was sworn in as Gilchrist County Court Judge at 4 p.m. Friday, becoming the first female judge in the county’s history.
“This is the ceremonial swearing in,” Lancaster said. “It’s very sort of pomp and circumstance.”
Lancaster was elected on Aug. 14 and took office on Jan. 8. This election was her first attempt at a judgeship.
“I want to think that I was elected because I was the most qualified candidate for the job,” she said. “I just happen to be a woman.”
Being the first female judge does not phase Lancaster. She said she believes gender in politics is no longer an issue like it was in the past.
“I think women are being elected as our representives and county commissioners and school board members.” she said. “There’s many women serving now.”
Born in Gainesville and raised in Levy County, Lancaster earned her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Florida. She has lived in Gilchrist County since 1982 and has practiced law since 1986.
In the past, Lancaster practiced general civic law, was a longtime attorney for the Gilchrist County School Board and represented the Levy County School Board.
She served as a child support hearing officer for the 8th Judicial Circuit in Gilchrist and Levy counties for more the 14 years and was a civil traffic hearing officer in Alachua County.
“I love Gilchrist County, and I love its people,” she said. “This has been my dream since I became an attorney: to become Gilchrist County Court Judge.”
Sarah Brand edited and contributed to this story.