Friday, July 16, 2010
(Last modified: 2010-07-16 10:01:03)
What is your background?
My name is Lee Eblen Ledbetter and I am the only candidate that was born and raised in Loudon County. My parents are Bobby Eblen and the late Charlie Eblen. I graduated third in my class from Lenoir City High School in 1983. I received a degree in business administration with a major in accounting in 1987 from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, graduating with high honors. I worked as a staff accountant for the firm of Cherry, Bekaert and Holland in Knoxville before applying to law school. I graduated from the George C. Taylor College of Law at the University of Tennessee in 1991 with a J.D. degree.
I have been married to my husband, Mitch Ledbetter, for over 20 years. He is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and is employed by the Lenoir City Utilities Board as an engineer. We have one son, Charlie, who will be a junior at Lenoir City High School. He is an honor student and plays on both the varsity golf and soccer teams.
The tradition of public service runs deep in our family. My father, Charlie Eblen and my husband's father, Mickey Ledbetter, both have served as the Mayor of Lenoir City.
My father also served as a member of the State Senate and State House of Representatives in the late 1950's. As a result of these guiding influences of my family, I ran for and was elected to the office of Loudon County Commissioner, serving on the budget and capital projects committees. In 2002, I was appointed to the Loudon County Election Commission and served as its chairman. Mitch currently serves on the Lenoir City School Board.
I am a member of the Lenoir City Civitan Club, the Loudon County Chamber of Commerce and the newly formed CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children) steering committee. As a member of the district attorney's office, I work closely with the Kids First Child Advocacy Center to prosecute defendants charged with sex abuse crimes involving children. I am a past member of the Loudon County Foster Care Review Board, the Loudon County Domestic Violence Board and the Lenoir City Housing Authority. In 2009, I was inducted into the Lenoir City High School Sports Hall of Fame.
I believe in and am committed to Loudon County and am proud to live and raise my family here.
What are your qualifications for this position?
I have over 18 years of proven legal experience in the General Sessions Court of Loudon County. In 1992, I began my legal career practicing law with my father, Charlie Eblen, in the firm of Goodwin and Eblen. As a general practitioner, I handled all matters heard in general sessions court, including probate and estate matters, civil and criminal matters, divorce and other domestic issues. I later joined the district public defender's office and also worked as an assistant general counsel for the Department of Children's Services.
I am currently the Chief Assistant District Attorney in the General Sessions Courts for the Ninth Judicial District, including the counties of Loudon, Roane, Meigs and Morgan. I supervise two other assistant district attorneys and am responsible for overseeing the prosecution of hundreds of cases every week in the General Sessions Court for Loudon County. Because I am in court several times a week, I have a wonderful working relationship with all court personnel and personnel of the others agencies that frequent the court.
This will enable me to easily transition into the position of general sessions judge. I am the only candidate that has served as both a Special Judge and state prosecuting attorney for our general sessions court. I am the only candidate that has experience in all facets of general sessions court.
What do you believe is the most pressing problem facing the office you are seeking and how would you propose that problem be solved?
Several months ago, Judge Russell, the current general sessions judge, invited me to lunch and told me of his plans to retire from this position. It has been an honor to practice in his court and he has been somewhat of a mentor to me. We have been close friends for a long time and he and I have had several discussions about the issues facing the next judge. I feel that one of the most pressing problems is to find a way to provide stability and structure to our troubled juveniles. I plan to establish a mentoring program for children that fall into this category. Unfortunately, too many of our juvenile offenders move from the juvenile court system into the adult criminal system without any hope of breaking the cycle. Intervention through the court system is limited so, if elected, I plan to enlist the aid of community and church leaders, along with court personnel and others to develop a program to provide structure and encouragement to juveniles who otherwise would be lost in the system. Because I have been an assistant general counsel to the department of children's services, an assistant district attorney as well as an assistant public defender and private defense attorney, I have a unique perspective on the lives of juveniles that come through our court system and have a vision for how to improve their lives and make them productive citizens.
One of the other pressing problems facing the office of general sessions judge is the need for increased courtroom security. I would like to explore all options for making our courtroom safer for all who conduct business with the court. There is currently a committee in place to review security options as well as a line item in the county budget to provide funding for this endeavor.
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