By Anna-Claire Terry
Brandon Hughes and Robbie Treese, the two district attorney candidates in Lee County’s Republican primary race, were asked questions by Lee County residents Tuesday night at a debate held by the Lee County Republican Club at the Hilton Garden Inn.
Treese is the incumbent candidate and was elected in 2010. Hughes, formerly employed by the Montgomery County district attorney’s office, joined the Alabama District Attorneys Association in 2006 and has helped district attorneys’ offices across the state prosecute cases. Hughes said it is a point of pride for him to have also worked in Montgomery County and to have the experience of working all over the state. Hughes alleged that Treese has become too scarce in the courtroom since being elected. Treese answered that he has worked with the Lee County D.A.’s office for 16 years and has tried more cases in the county than anyone. “My experience has been all in Lee County because this is where I wanted to be, and this is where I raise my family. I don’t claim any experience in Montgomery County, and I don’t want any experience in Montgomery County,” Treese said. “All of it is right here.” Treese said he cared for the victims mightily and does his best to make sure they know the truth about what is happening. “I make sure they realize that the system is not all it is cracked up to be,” Treese said. “It is not designed for the victims. It is designed to protect the innocent.” Both candidates spoke of their passion for the job and answered questions about cases that took an emotional toll and stuck with them through the years. Brandon Hughes told the audience it was difficult for him to not get emotional when talking about his line of work. “I get emotional because I believe in it,” Hughes said. “He has tried a lot of cases, I have tried a lot of cases. That doesn’t make anyone special, that just makes us prosecutors. That’s it. This job is a step above that … Your district attorney is your most experienced attorney in the office, but what good is that experience if it’s sitting on the sidelines?”
The primary election for the next district attorney of Lee County will be March 1.