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Gardner announces candidacy for general sessions judge

Staff Reports • Dec 17, 2015 at 6:17 PM

Local attorney Shelley Thompson Gardner announced her intention to seek election as judge for Wilson County’s General Sessions Court, Division II.  

The official kickoff to her campaign will be April 22 from 4:30-7:30 p.m. at Cumberland University’s Baird Chapel. This free event is a chance to meet and to have an opportunity to talk with Gardner. She invites everyone to attend for food and conversation.  

“I would like to ask for your vote in this year’s upcoming election,” Gardner said. “It would be an honor for me to fulfill a lifelong dream and to continue to serve the people of this great county.”   

As an attorney, Gardner served the people of Wilson County for the past 12 years. Born and raised in Wilson County, she attended elementary school in Mt. Juliet. She moved to Lebanon and graduated from Lebanon High School in the top 10 percent of her class. From there, Gardner attended Cumberland University, where she graduated with honors and in 2001, graduated from the Nashville School of Law.  

Gardner was an attorney at the 15th Judicial District Public Defenders Office for the last 12 years. She has attended numerous educational seminars concerning topics such as drugs, violence and the death penalty.  She has had the opportunity to work in all criminal courts in the five counties in the 15th District. She was docket manager for all Wilson County criminal courts for the past 10 years.  

In Wilson County alone, she has handled thousands of cases with the most in general sessions, Division II with Judge Robert Hamilton.  

She was involved in cases ranging from Class C misdemeanors, such as public intoxication, disorderly conduct and DUI, all the way up to Class A felonies, such as robbery and first-degree murder. On a daily basis, she works with criminal court judges, general sessions judges, the clerk’s office, law enforcement and other attorneys.  

“With my firsthand knowledge and experience in the general sessions court, I know what it takes to run this courtroom,” Gardner said. “During the past 12 years, I’ve had the opportunity to observe Judge Hamilton, observe the decisions he’s had to make and the impact it has on the victims, the accused and everyone else involved.”

Gardner is involved with the community. She is a member of the Lebanon/Wilson County Chamber of Commerce, Wilson One, board of directors for the Wilson County Fair Board and the 15th Judicial District Bar Association, among others. She is a supporter of CASA, the CAC, she was involved in the beginning stages of the Wilson County Teen Court Program and sits as a member for the 15th District Drug Court Program.  

“Our Teen Court Program is a good way to get our youth involved,” Gardner said. “It teaches the youth who want to learn more about our judicial system and gives other youths that second chance after making a mistake. The Drug Court Program is a great program for individuals who need and want rehabilitation. Both of these programs are designed to teach, help, encourage and rehabilitate certain individuals.”      

She and her husband, Joe Gardner, have been married for 12 years. They have two sons who both attend Coles Ferry Elementary School. She and her family attend First United Methodist Church.  

“My husband and I enjoy our family time, whether it is sporting events or family vacations,” she said.  

Her husband works the radio broadcast for the Lebanon High School and some of the Mt. Juliet High School football games.  

“My grandfather, Sam Crowder Brewington, was a constable for Wilson County for many years,” Gardner said. “My aunt, Sherry Bilbrey, is the president of Big Brothers in Mt. Juliet. My husband’s mother and father, Glenn and Marilyn Gardner, owned and operated Dick’s Food Mart for more than 40 years. Mr. Gardner also helped to rehabilitate and give people that second chance when he helped to start and coach the Golden Gloves boxing program in Wilson County. Many people in this community boxed for her father-in-law or shopped in their grocery store. I would love the chance to continue giving back to this community that means so much to my family and me.

Gardner said she believes her experience, knowledge, values and ability to efficiently run and manage this particular courtroom are unparalleled by any other candidate.  

“I believe I have earned the respect from all the individuals I have worked with, especially those so closely involved in the general sessions court,” she said. “I want to be able to preserve the integrity of our courtrooms and judicial system. I am asking that you vote and elect me as your next and first female judge for Wilson County General Sessions Division II.”  

Early voting is July 18 through Aug. 2, and Election Day is Aug. 7.  

For more information and upcoming events, visit thompsongardner4judge.com or Thompson Gardner For Judge on Facebook.  

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