Candidates Visit Club

More candidates came out last night to meet the members of the Midtown Republican Club at our monthly meeting. It was great to have them introduce themselves, give us some information and ask for our vote.

Judge Karen Massey
Judge Karen Massey

Judge Karen Massey has sat on the bench for eight years and hopes for another eight years if re-elected to be General Sessions Judge, Criminal Court Division 11. She was in the Air Force, was an intelligence officer for five years and spent time serving in Germany. “Even then in 1988 my goal was to be a judge,” Massey said. She moved on to be a public defender. Massey says she loves her job as a judge so much “I can’t wait to get there.” She emphasized that she always strives to be fair.

Massey has been endorsed by the Shelby GOP.

Richard Desaussure hopes to become Criminal Court clerk, a position now held by the retiring Kevin Key. “I’m a lifelong Memphian,” Desaussure said, “a graduate of Notre Dame and Memphis State law school.” He says he has been in Shelby County government for 29 years, the last 14 in criminal court. Desaussure said he appreciated Key’s good work and “hopes to fill his shoes.”

Jim Finney
Jim Finney

“My race is important. It is a very serious race that effects everyone in Tennessee,” said Jim Finney. He is referring to the District 29 House race and the seat now held by Ophelia Ford.

“I want to bring honor and integrity back to the legislature,” Finney said. He was referring to the history of Ophelia Ford who has not always been present for votes and has had some accusations of impaired performance. Finney pointed to important issues like immigration that will effect more than just District 29. He wants to be more inclusive as a party and at a recent meeting of Latin Memphis found many in agreement with him.

Retired from the Navy in 1999, Finney will be in the primary August 7. Lee Harris on the Democrat side is challenging Ophelia Ford for the final race in November.

Julie Byrd, a candidate for Circuit Court Division 1, came by once again to “ask for your vote.” Byrd said she’s been an attorney for 25 years and 37% of her law practice is what Circuit Court does and “my specialty.” She added she is not the Democrat party’s “endorsee.”

Danny Kail is working to become Probate Court Judge Division 2. He cited his “30 years experience” and emphasized that he is on the staff of Mark Luttrell. Kail said he has a clean record and a well organized campaign.

Keith Alexander, running for Assessor of Property, also visited again. “I assume that people know their property tax is the highest in the state of Tennessee. The market value, though, is going south and the property assessments going north. We need someone with a new perspective in the office. I’m going to tear the playhouse down if I win.”

Ellen Fite was jubilant that she had won the Memphis Bar Association poll for General Sessions Judge, Civil, Division 5. “I’m the only civil candidate running against an incumbent to win this,” she said.

Ron Lucchesi, also got the Bar endorsement and he, too, is running against an incumbent. He is running for General Sessions Judge, Criminal, Division 12. Plus he has the endorsement of the Shelby GOP. “I’ve practiced law 39 years and if elected I plan to fully change the court. Lawyers are not happy with it now, nor are others,” he said.

Tarik Sugarmon is challenging incumbent Dan Michael for Juvenile Court Judge. He said he’s been in private practice for 16 years and has done more than 175 jury trials.

“I’m the only fiscal conservative in this race,” Sugarmon said, citing his stint at NBC bank and as a real estate agent. “I’ve kept our budget in order. We are under a federal mandate with the Department of Justice and the cost is $7 million. The administration is top heavy and I want an audit. It won’t cost taxpayers any more to get under compliance. If not, it could bankrupt us,” he said.

Sugarmon said he welcomes phone calls and has a website. Shelby GOP has endorsed Michael.

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