published Monday, September 23rd, 2013

2 attorneys seek Rhea's County General Sessions Court judgeship

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    Attorney Shannon Garrison has announced plans to seek the Rhea County General Sessions Court judge seat being vacated by James W. McKenzie in 2014. Photo by Kimberly McMillian
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    Attorney Carol Ann Barron is a candidate for the Rhea County General Sessions Court judge seat being vacated by James W. McKenzie, the county’s first full-time judge in that court. Photo by Kimberly McMillian
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DAYTON, Tenn. — Two local attorneys have said they plan to run for Rhea's County General Sessions Court judgeship in the 2014 election.

Current Judge James W. McKenzie is not seeking re-election.

Attorneys Shannon Garrison and Carol Ann Barron said they'll seek the position. The seat holder also serves as the county's Juvenile Court judge.

Garrison, a 1989 Rhea County High School graduate and a 1997 Nashville School of Law graduate, said he would miss the one-one-one interaction with clients he now has in his private practice, but that he'd work to create a safe environment for people to live in, work and do business.

"I'm vested in this county, and I will apply the law equally" if elected, he said.

Barron, who obtained her law degree in 1994 from the University of Tennessee College of Law, said she'd miss advocating for her clients, but that she has considered running for the last four years.

She said her compassion for others would make her an effective judge, but for people not to "mistake kindness for weakness."

She said she would pursue accountability in the courtroom.

McKenzie, known for his candor in the courtroom, said travel is among his future plans.

"I'll miss dealing with juveniles," McKenzie said, saying those cases are the most difficult.

McKenzie, who was elected in 1998 as the first full-time county General Sessions Court judge, has been reprimanded twice by the state judiciary board for his conduct in the courtroom, once in 2010 and again in 2013, records show.

"You tell it like it is," he said.

He said he had grown "tired" and seen many parents refuse to invest in their children's future. He will finish out his term through the election.

Tom Davis, Rhea County administrator of elections, said the primary election is May 6, 2014, and the general election is Aug. 7. Candidates have until Feb. 21, 2014, to submit qualifying paperwork, he said.

Kimberly McMillian is based in Rhea County. Contact her at kdj424@bellsouth.net.

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