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Meet the Candidates: Local Lawyer, Sitting Judge Vie for Justice Court Bench

By Alyssa Schnugg
News editor

Local attorney Andy Arant has represented people since 2000, defending the indigent charged with misdemeanors and representing families in family law and domestic relation cases.

Andy Arant

Now he wants to take his experience to the bench to help uphold the laws of the Justice Court.

He is the Republican candidate running against incumbent Judge Carolyn Pettis-Bell. Bell did not respond to requests for an interview.

Arant said if elected, he promises to consider all the evidence put before him and rule according to the applicable law.

“I believe that my diverse life experiences, from designing agricultural machines; to growing rice, soybeans, and catfish; to working in missions; to raising a family; to assisting clients, even those who cannot afford an attorney, with solving their legal problems, has more than prepared me for the responsibilities of a Justice Court Judge,” he told Hottytoddy.com recently.

Arant, 61, moved to Lafayette County in 1997 from Indianola. After high school, he attended Mississippi State University majoring in mechanical engineering. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering in 1981.

He spent nine years working on his family’s farm in Sunflower County and then opened a new GM commercial broadcasting radio station where he became the general manager and chief engineer of New Country 96.9FM, a Christian country music station.

He was accepted into the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1997 after selling the radio station. He graduated and received his law degree in December 1999.

In 2000, he started working at Burns Law Firm in Water Valley. In 2005, he opened his own law firm, Arant Law Firm that specializes primarily in family law cases.

Since 2009, he has served as the public defender for the city of Water Valley where he represents people charged with misdemeanors who cannot afford an attorney.

He a member of St. Andrews United Methodist Church in Oxford where he is a past chairman of the finance committee and a past chairman of the staff/pastor relations committee.

“I also sing in the church choir,” he said.

For the last seven years, he has spent a week in Honduras with a mission team from Indianola. He has also spent time in St. Croix, the U.S. Virgin Island rebuilding homes destroyed by hurricanes.

He has been married to his high school sweetheart for 40 years. They have three children and one granddaughter.

Other activities include being a part of the Boy Scouts of America, participating in Leadership Mississippi and an eight-year member of the Kiwanis Club of Oxford. 


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