By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
Republican Trent Kelly aims to defeat nine-term District Attorney John R. Young on Nov. 8.
Young, 68, a Corinth Democrat, aims to keep the post he’s held since 1975.
“It’s an ongoing battle,” he said about running the busy office, “and I’m there to do it.”
Kelly, 45, of Saltillo thinks it’s time for new blood in that office, which prosecutes criminal cases across six counties – Alcorn, Itawamba, Lee, Monroe, Pontotoc, Prentiss and Tishomingo.
“This is all about leadership style and attitude,” the 12-year Tupelo city prosecutor said. “If you talk to law enforcement, they’ll tell you I am much more accessible, they trust me and know I have the people’s interest at heart.”
Both men are attorneys with law degrees from the University of Mississippi School of Law.
Kelly’s campaign has outraised Young’s nearly three times – with $30,783 receipts and $9,310 on hand in mid-October. By the same date, Young’s campaign reported $11,890 receipts and $5,895 cash on hand.
Young points to his own experience, practicing law since 1968 and then being elected the district attorney.
“We started with two part-time attorneys and me,” he recalled. Now, he’s got a staff of 17 to assist him with a range of felony cases and grand jury appearances.
Young says he’s been “very picky” across the years with whom he hires and thinks that now he’s got a highly trained staff.
“Longevity is good,” he noted.
Kelly also said it’s important what the district attorney teaches the people who work in that office, as far as leading by example and providing services to the taxpayers.
His military experience is important, too, he said, noting he’s a lieutenant colonel with the Mississippi Army National Guard with two Iraq deployments, most recently as a battalion commander of nearly 700 troops in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Now, he maintains his military ties with soldier and family communication services through the Jackson Guard headquarters.
He also cites his interest in upgrading the office’s technology capabilities to fight cybercrime and go after cyber-predators.
“I think it’s time for a little different leadership,” Kelly adds.
Young said the office’s administrative demands are great but he stays available to try murder cases, as well as advise his staff on issues confronting them.
The district’s caseload is four times greater and cases are more complicated than they were 30 years ago, he said.
But he says it’s still all about handling felony cases before grand juries and trying them in circuit court. “I think I’ve been successful at that,” Young added.