By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Lee County elected officials took the oath of office Thursday during a somber one-hour ceremony peppered with occasional humor.
Circuit Court Judge Thomas Gardner, who issued the oaths, also provided levity with his comments about the officials and their family members who had packed the second-floor courtroom.
To the babies, he proclaimed a young interest in politics. To some of the spouses, he asked God to bless them for what they must endure, and to the officials he remarked their sense of awe at the ritual.
“It’s this amazing transfixation, if you can call it that, of the faces of those taking the oath,” Gardner said. “It morphs from a smiling face to a very serious and somber moment.”
Twenty-four office holders were sworn in along with many members of their staff. Roughly 100 sheriff’s deputies and correctional officers recited an oath after that of their boss, Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson.
Justice Court Judge Sadie Thompson led the oath for her son, newly elected District 5 Supervisor Billy Joe Holland, who defeated incumbent Joe McKinney in the election.
“This is one of the greatest honors that has ever been bestowed upon me,” she said before issuing the oath.
Said her son: “You’re going to make me cry before we even get started.”
Other newly elected officials included District Attorney Trent Kelly and Superintendent of Education Jimmy Weeks. Only Weeks accepted Gardner’s office to make a public statement, thanking the crowd for support during the election and vowing to do his best as superintendent.
Those sworn in officially take office Jan. 2.
More photos in today’s NEMS Daily Journal newspaper.