Vess announces run for Adams County circuit clerk

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 3, 2019

Special to The Democrat

NATCHEZ — Retired Judge Charlie Vess qualified recently as an independent candidate for Circuit Clerk of Adams County.

“I am excited to offer my services again to the people in our community as part of our legal system as Circuit Clerk working with all the courts,” Vess said.

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Vess said he brings with him a wealth of both legal and private business experience and feels he would be a perfect fit to replace retiring Circuit Clerk Eddie Walker.

“Eddie and I have been working partners and friends for 38 years, and I have the education, energy and experience to lead the fine staff he has built over the last several years,” Vess said.

Included with his experience Vess was a Justice Court Judge for 25 years and he said he developed many programs to modernize the lower court he presided over.

Vess worked with five sheriffs, county criminal and defense attorneys and businessmen during his tenure as a judge.

“Overall, I guess I presided over 30,000 various legal matters from simple traffic tickets to preliminary hearings on murders, rapes and robberies,” Vess said. “I also heard thousands of civil matters dealing with consumer complaints and business debts.”

In 2006, Vess said, he was appointed to a committee to rewrite the uniform rules of Justice Court.

When approved by the Supreme Court in 2014 it became the model both attorneys and regular citizens used when filing legal action in our court. Vess said he was particularly proud to have participated in this historic change.

Vess also said he started a work-release program in 1993 where citizens who could not pay their outstanding fines could meet their obligations to Adams County without causing hardships on their family.

“In addition to this,” Vess said, “I began a systematic and intensive victim restitution program which resulted in citizens receiving back thousands of dollars inflicted on them by misdemeanor criminals.”

Vess is a graduate of the University of Alabama with a Bachelor of Arts in communications and international studies. Vess has completed over 1,600 hours in legal studies at the University of Mississippi Judicial College. He also attended many hours of training in domestic violence through both state and federal programs.

After college Vess worked as a senatorial aide to Alabama Sens. John Sparkman and Jim Allen in Washington, D.C. Following his service in Washington, Vess became a firefighter and administrative secretary in Huntsville, Alabama.

In 1979 Vess moved to Natchez as a criminal reporter then publisher of The Fayette Chronicle. After selling the newspaper in 1983 he worked as a senior claims examiner for the Mississippi Employment Security Commission. Following that Vess worked as a safety engineer for ODECO in New Orleans. Elected a judge in 1991, Vess was re-elected 7 times.

“I feel this combined public and business experience will make me a good circuit clerk,” Vess said.

Locally, Vess said he has a long service history of civic accomplishments to enrich the citizens of Adams County.

He is a past president of the Natchez Historical Society, past executive member of the Natchez Little Theater, past board member of both local chapters of the American Red Cross and Salvation Army, and a volunteer member at the Natchez City Cemetery.

“In addition to these fine local organizations I am a proud supporter of both our veterans and local law enforcement agencies,” Vess said. “I have also taught courtroom and domestic procedures to the Adams County Sheriff’s Department and Natchez Police Department. I also believe we can’t do enough for our veterans, so I contribute financial support to disabled American and paralyzed veterans. I am a life long member of the United States Naval Institute, National Rifle Association, Teddy Roosevelt Association, and Ducks Unlimited.”

Vess has been married his wife Corky for 38 years. She also has been a public employee having taught science in area schools for 41 years. They raised two children, Gaston and Ree in the Natchez community. The Vesses have four grandchildren and are members of Trinity Episcopal Church.

Vess announced his candidacy as an Independent, and as such, will not appear on the ballot until the Nov. 5 general election ballot.

Running as an Independent allows every eligible voter to cast their vote without declaring a party.

“I have many friends and supporters that are both Democrats and Republicans,” Vess said, “and this supports my belief that a vote for the person should always be placed above politics. I look forward to meeting as many folks as possible after the August primaries and discussing my plans to upgrade and protect our historic courthouse records, continue the excellent service in the Circuit Clerk’s office and continue to support our courts and Judicial system.”