Edwin Buggage Data News Weekly Editor-in-Chief
It is a time in our City where the need for leaders with the right combination of skills to serve the people of New Orleans with competence, integrity, compassion and fairness is urgent. Schalyece Harrison is armed with these leadership qualities and is presently running for Judge of First City Court, Section B. Recently, Data News Weekly had the opportunity to speak with Harrison about her campaign and why she feels she’s best equipped to take on the job.
New Orleans Native
Giving her biography she says, “I was born and raised in New Orleans in the Hollygrove area. I graduated from Eleanor McMain Magnet High School and after graduating I attended the University of New Orleans where I obtained my bachelor’s degree in Political Science before going on to earn my law degree from Southern University Law Center. I loved law school so much I decided to obtain my Master’s in Law in taxation, from Golden Gate University Law School. Currently, I am in private practice dedicated to civil law matters and tax law. In addition to my law practice, the last 4 years I have served as an Administrative Hearing Officer, for the City of New Orleans, where I have conducted over 3,500 administrative hearings involving municipal violations.”
Harrison is someone who is local, but yet lived on both coasts working as an attorney in many capacities, something she says that makes her the best candidate in this contest. “I am the best candidate because I am the only candidate who has experience conducting fair, impartial hearings where I have considered testimony, examined evidence and rendered judgments in over 3,500 cases. I am the only candidate that has experience managing a docket, dealing with attorneys and unrepresented parties.”
Culture of Community
Speaking of her reasons for running for Judge she states, “First City Court handles cases such as evictions and small claims. Often the parties are unrepresented single moms who are facing eviction, therefore we need a judge who is from this community and understands our culture and our traditions and who will treat everyone with dignity and respect no matter their race, age, or income level.” Post Katrina, New Orleans is seeing an influx of people from other places, something that is changing the fabric and direction of the City. While some of this is good, it is in some ways changing the City with some of the citizens believing that it is important that those who lead appreciate what the City is and what it can be. Harrison feels that being raised in New Orleans is special and chose to return to contribute to its rebirth and renaissance.
“Everyone that knows me knows how much I love this City. I have been fortunate to have spent time on the East Coast and the West Coast in my career, but there is nothing like our culture and our sense of community, this is something that other communities just can’t match. Since moving back, I immediately became involved in the community by doing pro bono work, participating with clean-up efforts in the city through Clean-up NOLA and working with various local civic organizations. After being elected, I plan on working to change the misconceptions that judges are out of touch with the community and show that judges serve the public with patience, compassion, and common sense.”
Harrison’s life is an inspiration for many as she is successful in her work as well as working giving back and selflessly serving others. Speaking of her definition and formula for a successful life she says, “Success can be defined in many ways, but becoming successful is not allowing anyone to tell you that you aren’t capable of succeeding. Always believing in yourself when others don’t.”
Harrison recognizes the power of the ballot as in the community letting their voices be heard and she is encouraging all to go out and vote in the April 4th Election.