Cherokee County native Michelle Homier will become the newest Cherokee County State Court judge. She replaces retiring long-time State Court Judge C.J. Gober, who decided not to seek re-election.
Homier, who previously served as an assistant solicitor in the Cherokee County Solicitor General's office, defeated fellow candidate Jeff Rusbridge in July primary.
Homier, 34, grew up in Woodstock and graduated from Sequoyah High School in 1996. She earned a bachelor's degree in history, technology and society from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1999 and received her juris doctor from the University of Georgia Law School in 2003.
She and husband Tony Homier have two children--Riley, 5, and Paleigh, 3, and live in the Great Sky community in Canton.
Homier talked with Patch about her plans once she get seated on the bench.
1. Now that the dust has settled, how do you feel about starting this new position?
I am very excited about the new position and anxiously awaiting the opportunity to serve the citizens of Cherokee County for the next four years. As I have said recently, much has been given to me in my short 34 years of life and to whom much is given, much is required. I am looking forward to giving back to the community so near and dear to my heart.
2. What are some of your major goals you'd like to achieve? Are there any issues you want to specifically bring up?
I remained steadfastly focused on the three reasons I chose to run: (A) Bringing the idea of substance abuse treatment into the sentencing provisions of a first DUI; (B) Working with others to create a much needed Mental Health Court; (C) Offering community service options in lieu of paying fines for hardship cases. These are my major goals. Additionally, I seek to navigate the court calendars smoothly in hopes that delays are minimized and long waits to resolve cases are reduced.
3. What challenges do you think you face as an elected official?
I have practiced in several different jurisdictions, giving me exposure to different ways of handling court. Initially, there will be a learning curve for everyone involved as to how I handle court procedures. Apart from that, though, the biggest challenge will be to remain focused on enacting justice (which is not always a harsher sentence) or adjudicating cases while remaining grounded in reality. For this, I ask for the citizens of Cherokee County to keep me in their thoughts and prayers.
4. What are you looking forward to the most?
Honestly, I am looking forward to the opportunity to serve my native county and to be an example to my own children as well as all younger generations of Cherokee County.
5. What do you think are some challenges facing Cherokee County State Court system and what are some specifics you'd like to do to address them?
We are in desperate need of a mental health court. We also need to remember to step outside the box sometimes and fashion sentences as well as dispositions in civil cases in ways that we may not always be accustomed. If we do not continue to work on developing a mental health court, this county will suffer greatly. And if the court system is not willing to change to address issues we have rarely seen before, we will not be doing anyone any good.
6. Are there any smaller, less pressing issues you want to address?
I want to run an efficient calendar. I also want to be and remain a very approachable judge, both to attorneys and the general public. To this end, I can be reached via e-mail at both firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. I would be glad to answer anyone’s questions or concerns, as best I can.
7. What do you hope to take away from this experience?
I hope to continue my faith in the judicial system. I also hope to remain grounded in reality and to stay connected with the citizens that elected me. Lastly, I want to continue to remain grateful for the election experience. Each person I spoke with gave me insight into what Cherokee County citizens wanted and expected of their elected officials. I am also thankful for the Honorable Jeff Rusbridge, my opponent in the election, for running a fair, honest, and respect race. Despite the results, he also showed the citizens of Cherokee County how a true leader should act.
8. What do you want voters to know about you?
I want them to know that I hope I have portrayed myself as I see myself and as I hope others see myself. I grew up lower middle class, having been the first in my family to graduate college in a traditional setting, with a sense that family and community are important. My grandfather, Grady Poole, grew up in Cherokee County, as did many in his family before him, and he moved to Atlanta during WWII to support himself, his younger brother, and his mother. There he met my grandmother, a native Atlantan, and remained there for decades, raising a family. My parents moved to Cherokee County shortly before I was born, instilling in me a sense of family and respect for others. I was a shy and quiet child, always unsure of myself, but I knew one thing – you treat others with dignity and respect, regardless of class, ethnicity, economic status or any other barrier. My mother says we struggled financially when I was young, but I remember happy times. I also remember my mother working multiple jobs and going to school when myself and my younger brother were pre-teens in order to graduate college and begin her dream career of teaching special needs children. She taught me, through her actions, that if you want something bad enough, you work at it and find a way. My mother also taught me to be grateful for the life I have and to give back to others. When I decided to run for this position – this was exactly what I felt I was doing. I am grateful for the life I have, and I am grateful that my training in the legal field has enabled me to assist others – both as a defense attorney and as a prosecutor. After working here in Cherokee County as an assistant solicitor for over four years, I saw some areas of improvement that the state court system could make and had some ideas. It was time for me to give back to the community I was raised in, the community I chose to raise my own children in, and the community of my ancestors. Thus, I chose to run, and I hoped the citizens of Cherokee County would choose me a representative of them on the state court bench.