Marking a historical event… Murray-Smith sworn in as first female Elizabethton municipal judge

Published 4:27 pm Wednesday, August 26, 2020

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The year 2020 has been one of historical proportions covering everything from the pandemic to riots, marches, storms, and so much more.
It also marks the 100th year of the Women’s Suffrage Act allowing females the opportunity to vote.
Another significant piece of history took place at the Elizabethton City Hall council chamber on Wednesday afternoon when Teresa Murray-Smith was sworn in as the first female City of Elizabethton Municipal Judge before a large room of family and supporters.
The honorable Judge Lynn Brown presided over the swearing in ceremony that placed Murray-Smith on the bench.
“She has had a remarkable career,” said Judge Brown before he swore Murray-Smith in. “My first memory of Teresa Murray was when we were in high school and we were in the band and she was carrying the flute as I recall and I was carrying the trombone.
“In 1977, District Attorney General Lewis May made the mistake of hiring me as an assistant and two years later he made up for that by hiring Teresa as another assistant.
“Both of us learned much from him. In my experience, the very best judges have been lawyers who have been very good trial attorneys. Teresa Murray-Smith fits that perfectly.”
After being sworn in, Murray-Smith shared a few comments on being elected into the position. She was presented the robe that was worn by Judge May.
“I am really overwhelmed — I’m speechless,” said Murray-Smith. “I want to thank all of you especially those who worked with me during the last election and we get to do this fun all over again.
“I appreciate your efforts so much. I have a gavel that I am going to be using and it is special. This gavel is made from the Sycamore tree and was given to me by June Clear who at the time was the City Public Works Director.
“The Sycamore tree was located one block that way,” Murray-Smith continued. “Under that tree, the first government West of the Alleghanies was formed when they formed a government here in Elizabethton.
“It’s very special to me to have this in my hand. I never did think that I would get to use it and now here I am.”
Murray-Smith had a candle lit in memory of her husband who is deceased. She told those in attendance that she hoped that the only time she would see them in the courtroom was as friends which brought a large chuckle from those in attendance.
Murray-Smith will once again be running in the November election to fill the full term of the judgeship. She will be facing off against Jason Holly who had been appointed the municipal judge by the city council previously and lost to Murray-Smith running as a write-in candidate due to not having his qualifying papers in for the August primary election.
Holly’s name will appear on the November ballot along with Murray-Smith.

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