Chattanooga attorney Cheeks joins Hamilton County Circuit Court judge race

Contributed photo / Kisha Cheeks
Contributed photo / Kisha Cheeks

Chattanooga attorney Kisha Cheeks is running unopposed in the Democratic primary in the race to replace a retired Hamilton County Circuit Court judge, her campaign announced.

"Honestly, politics has nothing to do with the law," Cheeks said by phone. "I want voters to see Kisha, see my experiences and what I bring to the judgeship."

Cheeks, 51, is the principal attorney at the Cheeks Rucker Firm, which is a general civil liability firm representing cases ranging from business disputes to family law, she said. She graduated from the Cumberland School of Law in Alabama and has been practicing in state and federal courts for 13 years.

(READ MORE: Marie Williams to retire from Hamilton County Circuit Court)

General Sessions Judge Alex McVeagh and Chattanooga attorney Michele Coffman, who are both seeking the Republican nomination for the role, announced their intent to run in October.

Cheeks announced her plans to join the race this month, but it was not something that came up at the last minute, she said. She suffered a significant loss in September when her father died with Parkinson's disease, she said.

"I kind of needed a moment," Cheeks said. "I saw the signs in October, but I needed a moment to regroup from losing my father."

She plans to release an official campaign website along with endorsements in the coming weeks.

(READ MORE: Hamilton County receives $260,000 for court security upgrades)

Cheeks is a Chattanooga native who graduated from Hixson High School, she said. She is a mother, a wife, a lawyer and an engineer. Cheeks' free time is dedicated to her family, her church and her community, she said.

"It's only the second Saturday I have to myself that I don't have a meeting preplanned," she said.

She was managing her campaign phone and wrangling her pet while she spoke.

She enjoys mentoring younger girls "just about life and going to college," she said. She helps pack snacks for children who may not have meals at home and assists in providing services to older adults. Her volunteer work informs her legal career and how she would handle a Circuit Court judge position, she said.

Cheeks' campaign is focused on ensuring the courts remain accessible and just.

"I believe being a judge is about service, and that is something I have done in my life," Cheeks said. "You have to care about people and what they are going through, and then apply the solution that the law has for them in that situation."

The primary election is set for March 5. The general election is set for Aug. 1. The elected party will replace former Circuit Court Judge Marie Williams in Hamilton County's third division. The position is elected at large by voters throughout the county. Circuit Court judges mainly handle civil cases, including divorces, child custody and business disputes, including real estate and financial investments.

Contact Sofia Saric at ssaric@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6476.

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