Two qualify for chancery judge race

Paula Drungole-Ellis (left) and Roy A'. Perkins both qualified to run for the chancery judge seat in November
Staff Writer

Two candidates will face off to fill the seat to be left vacant by retiring Chancery Court Judge Dorothy W. Colom for the Mississippi 14th Chancery Court District.

Starkville Vice Mayor and Ward 6 Alderman Roy A’. Perkins and Starkville Youth Court Judge Paula Drungole-Ellis have both qualified with the Mississippi Secretary of State’s office to run for the seat. Candidates for the office are required to have practiced law for at least five years, be a resident of the state for at least five years and be at least 26 years old.

Qualification opened Tuesday, and will run until May 11. The election will be held Nov.6, with a runoff on Nov. 27 if need be. The Place

Three seat covers all of Noxubee County and parts of Oktibbeha, Clay and Lowndes counties.

The race will be non-partisan.

Perkins has served seven terms on the Starkville Board of Aldermen and three as vice mayor. He has practiced law in Starkville for nearly three decades.

Perkins said his next step would be to organize a campaign committee.

“I’m immensely qualified,” Perkins said. “I’m well-experienced, and I’ve litigated, tried and handled a multitude of cases. I’m looking forward to this campaign, and if elected chancery court judge, I will work very faithfully and diligently in the discharge of the duties of the office.”

Perkins also said he had tried and argued a multitude of chancery cases over his legal career and had even argued a case originating in chancery court before the Mississippi Supreme Court.

“I feel very comfortable about the chancery court practice,” Perkins said. “I feel that I have the experience and the background and the knowledge that the position and the job requires, and I can comfortably make decisions based upon the law.”

If elected, Perkins would be required by law to resign from his alderman seat.

In addition to his alderman races, Perkins sought a seat on the 16th Circuit Court District in 2006, losing in a close race to James T. Kitchens.

Drungole-Ellis has practiced law in Starkville for 32 years, and was appointed to serve as Oktibbeha County Youth Court referee judge-designee by Colom. She has served on the youth court for the past nine years.

“I have the right values and the right vision for this office,” Drungole-Ellis said. “I look forward to continuing not only to serve the citizens of Oktibbeha County in a new position, but to serve all the citizens who make up the Chancery Court 14th Judicial District.”

This will be Drungole-Ellis’ first time running for office.

“The only thing I can ever promise (constituents) is to be fair and impartial,” Drungole-Ellis said. “I have experience. I’ve been on the bench for nine years, and I would be honored to follow in the footsteps of Judge Colom.”

Mississippi chancery courts have jurisdiction in matters involving equity, domestic matters including adoptions, custody disputes and divorces, guardianships, sanity hearings, wills, and challenges to constitutionality of state laws. Chancery trials are generally held without a jury.

Chancery Court District 14 includes Oktibbeha, Clay, Lowndes, Noxubee, Chickasaw, and Webster counties.

Anne Turner and Eugene Barton both qualified to run for Place One.