Lafayette County residents will vote to elect the county’s first County judge on Nov. 8.
Eight local attorneys have qualified to run for the new seat. They include Steve Jubera, James B. Justice, Cornelia Fondren, Thomas A. Waller, Josh Turner, Ray Garrett, Tiffany Kilpatrick and Christine Tatum.
This week, Hotty Toddy News is running profiles of each candidate, along with their answers to three questions that were presented to them.
Profile information was provided by each candidate to the Lafayette County Circuit Clerk’s Office and is also listed on the Election page of the Lafayette County website.
Tatum attended Tulane University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in American Studies with a concentration in English in1991. In 1994, she earned her law degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law. While at UM, she was an Eastland Scholar, Mock Trial member and chairperson and worked on the Mississippi Law Journal.
She is licensed to practice law in all courts in Mississippi and Louisiana and the U.S. Supreme Court.
She is a Mississippi Bar Fellow and participated in the Women in the Profession group in the Mississippi Bar. She co-chaired the Evelyn Gandy Lecture series and participated as a member of the Board of the Mississippi Volunteers Lawyers Project.
Her work history includes:
- Practiced insurance defense with Webb Sanders for two years (1995-1997)
- Staff attorney for the 3rd Judicial Circuit Court District for five years under Judge R. Kenneth Coleman, Judge Henry L. Lackey and Judge Andrew K. Howorth (1997-2002)
- Practiced insurance defense (especially defending government entities – cities, counties, school districts, law enforcement agencies) with Daniel Coker 2002-2009 – left as a shareholder status.
- Assistant District Attorney for the 3rd Judicial Circuit Court District under District Attorney Ben Creekmore since 2009
She is married to Julien Tatum and is the mother of Trey Tatum, who works at University Sporting Goods and interns at the US Attorney General’s office while attending school full-time.
Tatum has served as coach of the Oxford High School Mock Trial Team for the last six years. She created a fund to help any and all students with the cost of this extracurricular activity.
She has contributed a Little Free Library and a Little Free Pantry to the Oxford Community; volunteered for Habitat for Humanity and the Pantry; and contributed to various charities in the Oxford Community, including Interfaith Compassion Ministries, Oxford Medical Ministries and Doors of Hope.
She is a member of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church and the Woman’s Book Club.
1. Why are you running for County Judge?
I have called Oxford home for over 30 years and am vested in the LOU community. (Julien, my husband, and Trey, my son, have lived all their lives in Oxford. Both graduated from Oxford High School and in a couple of years, we, hopefully, will be able to say all three of us graduated from Ole Miss!) I want to continue working with the public and continue to exercise fairness and justice as I have been doing for the last 13 years as an assistant district attorney. Lafayette County is a wonderful place to live, as shown by the creation of this court due to the population growth of the county. Being part of a great community is very rewarding and I want to contribute to it and continue to learn from it.
2. What makes you the best candidate?
I have been practicing close over 27 years in all areas of the law, both civil & criminal and in the private & public sectors), and have also worked with the court system (I was staff attorney to two beloved circuit judges Henry L. Lackey and R. Kenneth Coleman for 5 years).
Additionally, I have been coaching and mentoring high school and college students for many years. Seeing them learn and getting their perspective is very rewarding. I know I can have a positive impact on people … I have experienced it with a kind word to a person in court or to a student by spending time to teach/coach them.
I am very conscientious about my work and I work hard. I have the desire to serve and to get things done and done right.
3. With this being a new court for the county, what do you hope to accomplish with this position if elected?
The establishment of this court shows that Lafayette County is growing. More people puts more cases in the court system. The county court will relieve the stress on other courts and allow the people to have expedited justice. I plan to dedicate hard work and lots of time to fairly administer justice as provided by case law, statutes and constitutions. Another goal is to implement this new court into our court system in a seamless and efficient manner so that the citizens have confidence in our judicial bar. Be respectful and fair to all parties and show humanity while administering justice.