When Lindsey Callahan gave birth to her son Graham two years ago, she and her partner knew that they needed to find a place to settle down and raise their child together.
“At that point in time it was really a matter of whether we moved to Michigan or Washington,” Callahan said. “Washington and Michigan are my two favorite places in the world.”
San Juan County’s newest deputy prosecutor had circumnavigated the globe before, having been stationed at Air Force bases in England, Afghanistan, Turkey and Maryland. She knew where she wanted to be.
“We knew we wanted to have children, so, it just got really exhausting moving so much,” Callahan said, and when a job opened up with the county: “We just jumped at the opportunity.”Callahan grew up in Detroit, Michigan, and attended Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.
“As an undergrad, I studied economic development,” Callahan explained, adding that she enjoyed focusing on stability and improving the quality of life in communities that need help. “I became much more interested in the way legal issues and economic issues intertwined.”
Callahan said that in 2004, she was working on a project with the coffee industry in Rwanda — 10 years after the Rwanda genocide during the nation’s civil war. She added that she also worked in historical preservation in Cambodia.
“Those two experiences back to back got me interested in the law and how it relates to people’s lives,” Callahan said.
She then went to law school at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She wasn’t entirely sure she wanted to practice law — she certainly didn’t want to do corporate law, she explained.
That’s when Callahan joined the U.S. Air Force in the branch’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps — the justice and law division. She spent seven years in active duty, followed by two years in the reserves.
Callahan graduated from the University of Washington in December with a Master of Laws degree in sustainable international development law and just passed the Washington bar.
Callahan will work in the county’s district court, replacing Carolyn Jewett who was elected as district court judge in November 2018. Jewett replaced Judge Stewart Andrew who retired after 20 years of service. District court is the lower of the two courts in San Juan County and tries cases like misdemeanors and parking violations.
Growing up, Callahan said she used to visit Washington with her family, but that was usually in the Leavenworth area, and she had never seen the state’s shoreline.
“I grew up living on a lake and always feel at home near the water,” Callahan said. She and her partner Trey Stewart visited the Olympic Peninsula and San Juan Island on vacation last year, and they fell in love.
“I just love the idea of Graham growing up here,” Callahan said. “I’m just really excited to get involved with the community here. It’s just such a vibrant community.”
Callahan explained that she used to sail and would love to get back into sailing now that she lives on the island. She also said that she and Stewart hope to start kayaking.
The couple has two dogs, Alex, a 14-year-old mutt from a Detroit shelter with the energy of a puppy, and Henry, 3, a lazy French bulldog.
“They will be regulars at the dog park,” Callahan said with a laugh.