A visit in Chilhowee, Rockford

Meares calls for citizens to ‘judge’

“Judge for yourself” is a new slogan on signs for Judge Mike Meares’ campaign to be elected to the Circuit Court seat Gov. Phil Bredesen named him to nine months ago.

Meares said that is the whole reason he’s working hard to meet voters. “They have the right to choose,” he said during a reception at the Rockford pavilion on April 12.

Meares said the residents’ votes are important. He then spoke of his opponent, General Sessions Judge David Duggan. “The Sessions judge running against me is a good man, and I’d like to leave him in that position,” Meares said.

Meares said if Duggan wins, voters wouldn’t fill his seat. “If he wins, the county commission would pick the Sessions judge,” Meares said.

The judge said he has worked to make the system more efficient. “It’s a big, important job,” he said. “We’re all governed by the law. The constitution is there to govern how we treat each other.”

Meares said in Circuit Court residents make decisions regarding the guilt or innocence of an individual. “This truly is the very thing that allows citizens to come and be the legal system for a case,” he said.

Meares said he has 20 years experience as a lawyer trying a variety of cases. “I have life experiences needed to do the job according to the law and common sense.”

Larry Kauker said the judge is from a wonderful family, “but it’s an uphill battle being a Democrat. It’s hard getting a Democrat in office, but a lot of people are moving here from other places, which I think will have an effect on the vote. Maybe not now, but in years to come.”

Raymond Abbott of Rockford said Meares was doing a good job. “He’ll have my vote,” Abbott said. “They need change.”

Homer White said Meares was not being political in his campaign. “Judge Meares wants to be everyone’s candidate,” White said. “I don’t think there ought to be an emphasis on politics in the courtroom. Mike’s doing a good job and that’s the best qualification he’s got.”

Gerrae Messer of Blount County Democratic Women said the judge’s campaign was going well and that Meares was visiting precincts and talking with voters. “He wants to meet the citizens. He’s going out one-on-one,” she said. “He’s working as hard as any one candidate I’ve ever seen.”

Connie Taylor of Rockford said she was impressed with how Meares ran his courtroom. “He was respectful of everyone, fair and patient,” she said. “Those are traits you want in someone dealing with criminal issues. I don’t see him entrenched in the good old boy system.”

Meares’ campaign manager Brandon Cook said he was very pleased with how the campaign was going. “Judge Meares is going out into the community and giving people the opportunity to meet him and know what he’s all about,” Cook said.

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