Voters in the newly formed, five-town Housatonic probate court district will go to the polls Tuesday, Nov. 2, faced with the option of voting for Judge Martin Landgrebe, a Republican from New Milford, or write-in candidate Judge William DeFeo, also a Republican but from New Fairfield.

The Housatonic district will serve a population of some 65,000 residents in the towns of New Milford, Bridgewater, Sherman, New Fairfield and Brookfield when it goes into effect in January 2011.

Both candidates are seasoned probate judges.

Judge Landgrebe has been judge of the New Milford-Bridgewater probate district for 12 years.

Judge DeFeo has served in the New Fairfield-Sherman district for eight years.

Judge Landgrebe won the Republican Party's primary vote in August, taking his hometown by a comfortable margin, while Judge DeFeo -- who entered the primary as the endorsed candidate by his party caucus earlier this year -- captured the majority in Brookfield, New Fairfield and Sherman.

Judge Landgrebe has promised a "hometown" style court. He believes his experience will "greatly benefit all five towns."

In addition to 12 years serving New Milford and Bridgewater, he also served as the probate judge in Brookfield when Judge Jeff Reinen was ill and subsequently died nine years ago.

Judge Landgrebe served in Brookfield until a special election seated Judge Joseph Secola in early 2002. He is also a practicing attorney and a member of the Connecticut Probate Assembly Legislative Committee.

Judge DeFeo, a law professor at Western Connecticut State University, stopped practicing as an attorney in Connecticut when he began as probate judge in 2003.

He said he is "unabashed" about stating his preference for "the principles of low-cost, efficient and friendly government."

Judge DeFeo added his court is administered under this philosophy.