Branning kicks off campaign for judge

Branning kicks off campaign for judge


State Sen. Jenifer Branning has announced she is seeking a seat on the Mississippi Supreme Court.

Branning, a Republican Senator from Philadelphia, has been representing District 18, which includes parts of Leake, Neshoba, and Winston counties, since she was first elected to the Senate in 2016.

“I believe I am the only constitutional conservative in this race,” she said. “I am running because I want to make Mississippi a better place by providing fair and impartial decisions on the Supreme Court.”

For Branning, a constitutional conservative is someone who applies the law strictly as written, nothing more and nothing less, without adding or subtracting anything.

Branning said she hears concerns on the campaign trail from voters hoping to elect judges who follow the law and operate impartiality, with no ulterior motives.

“If we don’t elect justices who are willing to be fair and impartial and interpret the laws exactly as written, then are we really a republic?” she asked. “We have to ask ourselves that question.”

Long before her political career, while majoring in business administration at Mississippi State University, Branning always knew she wanted to return home and work in Philadelphia.

“I entered the Master of Business Administration program at Mississippi State and took a class in business law,” she said. “That is when I realized the law fascinates me.”

From there, Branning attended law school at Mississippi College, graduating in 2004.

After about a decade of practicing law, Branning was encouraged by local business leaders to run for the Senate when Giles Ward announced his retirement in 2015.

“At first, I said no way, that’s not for me. I’m happy practicing law,” Branning said. “But the more I thought about it, talked to my family, and prayed about it, we felt it was the direction I needed to head.”

She has since been re-elected three times to the Senate and says she truly loves serving her constituents. 

Branning noted that helping children in difficult situations through child advocacy cases early in her law career helped solidify her passion for serving her community. 

“In considering my run for the Senate, I really wanted to do my part in making my area in Mississippi a better place for my children and for the future of my state,” she said. “I’m a mom of three boys. One of my goals is to make sure that if they want to live, work, and raise their children in Mississippi, they have that opportunity.”

Her decision to run for the Supreme Court is driven by the same passion for improving Mississippi for future generations, she said.

Branning believes her legislative experience helps her understand the distinction between the roles of the legislative and judicial branches, and as a legislator, she has strived to consistently listen to the needs of her constituents and local community.

Branning said she is proud of her work on road improvements in Mississippi, which has hugely benefited local “mom and pop” timber companies. 

“Cutting some red tape in government resulted in those people being able to bring more money home, reinvest it in their businesses, and hire more employees,” she said. “If I can look my neighbor in the eyes and know that I helped them, those are the things I am most proud of having served in the legislature.”

If elected, Branning said she would like to enhance the efficiency of the appellate court process and shorten the time it takes for cases to be resolved.

Branning also believes that judicial races deserve as much attention as other races in the state, and she is urging people to research candidates and to go out and vote.

“We’ve got to make sure we are looking at all the candidates and that we are electing judges that have confidence, will be fair, and do the job they’re supposed to,” she said. “Our future depends on it.”

Outside of her professional life, Branning enjoys deer and alligator hunting, cooking, and spending time with her boys.

“I’ve been to the Ross Barnett Reservoir a few times for alligator hunting. It’s the most thrilling hunt I’ve ever been on, and I hope to be drawn again this year,” she said. “It’s so exciting. Being on the water at night is an adrenaline rush that’s hard to describe.”

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