By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Trent Kelly isn’t much of a swearing man, but he’s done a lot of it this week – repeatedly sworn in ceremonially as District 1’s new district attorney.
Kelly, 45, doesn’t take office until Jan. 1. But he’s making the rounds of courthouses in the seven-county jurisdiction to make it official.
He’ll do that in Lee County this morning.
“My priority is for this office not to miss a beat,” said the Republican who beat nine-term Democrat John F. Young of Corinth this past November. “We get no misses because it’s a new administration.”
The longtime National Guard officer says he isn’t interested in changing anything that’s working.
“But I’m always looking to get better,” he says.
The most obvious change is a corps of new assistant district attorneys – John Weddle, Richard Bowen, Nebra Porter, Brian Neely and Josh Wise – to join hold-overs Paul Gault, Chip Mills, Greg Myer and Kimmie Kitchens.
Porter and Neely are black, adding diversity with talent, their new boss observes.
He’ll maintain offices in Corinth and Tupelo, while operating in the other district counties.
Kelly says he sees himself first as the manager and organizer of the office to be sure he puts the best people in the right places for the best results.
But he also plans to try cases.
To better understand what his staff attorneys’ jobs are like, he promises to try what he terms “run-of-the-mill cases,” too.
And he’s asking other district attorneys around the state how they do certain things.
“They have a lot of great ideas,” the Newton County native says, “and they’ve already gotten the kinks out.”