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Friday, August 31, 2012

An Interview with Candidate Jim Hughey

By Sumeet Singh

Jim Hughey III
Jim Hughey III
Jim Hughey III, a practicing attorney at Birmingham’s renowned Lightfoot, Franklin and White group, is keen on making the ostensibly odd jump from his lucrative partnership at a private practice to the bureaucratic and distinctively less opulent world of public service. 

In regards to his decision to run for the Jefferson County Circuit Court Place 9 seat as the democratic candidate, Hughey explained that while public service had been ingrained in him at a young age by his civically-active father, “it was when the County declared bankruptcy in October [that] I really had a sense that we were at a turning point.  How divided our community seemed to be. I felt like if you really believe in service and you really believe it can make a difference, then here is the time you can serve.”  

When asked about his qualifications and other experiences that have prepared him for a potential judgeship, Hughey – who received his B.A. from Vanderbilt University and graduated summa cum laude from the University of Alabama School of Law – pointed to his being recently listed in the Best Lawyers in America and Alabama Superlawyers publications. He further noted that throughout his legal career, he has endeavored to take on every case he could, in hopes of gaining experience and understanding; since 1998, Hughey has worked in areas such as business litigation, pharmaceuticals and healthcare, professional liability, and securities and shareholders disputes.

If he does win the Place 9 seat in this November’s election, one of the first steps Hughey would like to take is cleaning up the tarnished view of the court system held by many in the city. “One area that I would really like to spend some time on is education, particularly among younger citizens, to instill the idea that courts are the places that you can come to and resolve your disputes. I fear that courts are becoming so expensive that it causes people to lose faith in the system. As society goes through recession, I think it is absolute key that the courts remain fully accessible.”

When we began discussing his stance on some of the most pressing political concerns of the day, Hughey prefaced his answers by noting that he could not comment on issues that could potentially end up in his courtroom one day. Asked about his view on the issues of hate speech and hate groups, particularly in the context of the tragic shootings at the Wisconsin Sikh Temple, Hughey said that “Those are issues that can come to the court, and my stomach turns when a person takes other lives based on racist ideology. I feel Birmingham has an opportunity to actively publicize the lessons we have learned in our own history. I can only imagine what it must be like for parents in the Indian community to be thinking about their children growing up in a society where they might be singled out simply because of their ethnicity.”

His answer on the controversial HB-56 bill was constrained. “I haven’t taken a position throughout the campaign since it’s in the courts,” said Hughey, adding that “Jefferson County is a wonderfully diverse place, and I am proud of its diversity. My wife works at UAB, and her colleagues come from all over the world. I spent my career working on diversity issues in my law career… It’s a core belief of mine, but I cannot advocate for or against a certain position.”

At the end of our interview, Hughey remarked on his vision for tomorrow, noting that “I don’t like that we [in Birmingham] are so separate. We tend to be so narrowly defined. I hope that in the very near future we can truly think of ourselves as citizens of the whole community.”

By Sumeet Singh

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09/18/2012
08:16 am

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09/08/2012
06:40 am

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09/08/2012
03:39 am

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