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
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
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
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