By Robbie Ward
TUPELO – Tupelo attorney Reagan Wise made his candidacy for Lee County Court Judge official Wednesday, assuring incumbent Charles “Charlie” Brett an opponent as he seeks a fourth term.
Wise, 38, signed his qualifying papers at the Lee County Circuit Clerk’s office as a group of 30 or so supporters watched and applauded the newest candidate in the nonpartisan judicial race.
A first-time office-seeker, Wise, a Pontotoc native who has lived in Tupelo since 2000, said he decided to pursue the county judge position with an annual salary of $91,778.50 as a way to contribute to the county.
“I want to serve the citizens of Lee County,” he said. “I will certainly work hard to render decisions in a fair and timely manner and make sure all citizens are treated with dignity and respect.”
As Wise and supporters gathered on the first floor of the Lee County Justice Center, Brett, 67, held a youth court hearing on the third floor. Brett said during a recess that his court experience makes him the better choice for voters.
“I’ve just been doing this a long time and enjoy what I do and want to keep on helping the youth and the county,” he said.
All judicial elections this year will be held Nov. 4, along with general elections including races for U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
Additional candidates have until May 9 to qualify to run for the Lee County Court race.
Lee County is among 21 county courts statewide with jurisdiction on a wide range of matters including eminent domain, civil matters and non-capital felony cases involving matters involving up to $200,000. County Court judges also serve as Youth Court judges.
Judicial candidates for most races have limitations on issues candidates can discuss, preventing them from creating an appearance of impropriety related to any future cases. However, this race has candidates contrasting in age and experience.
Wise practices law with Tupelo-based Webb Sanders & Williams law firm. His areas include general civil litigation defense, family law and corporate defense, among others.
Brett continues to serve his third term as county judge and previously served as Lee County prosecutor for 15 years, along with five years as prosecutor for the city of Tupelo.