Dumas seeks father’s seat on quorum court


Melanie Johnson Dumas of Pine Bluff has announced she will be a candidate for the District 7 Justice of the Peace position on the Jefferson County Quorum Court in the May Democratic Party primary.

The seat is currently held by Dumas’ father, Vannette Johnson, who is the longest-serving member of the county’s legislative body and will be retiring after 37 years.

“My father has served the people of Jefferson County for 37 years,” Dumas said in a press release. “I know, without a doubt, that I would be the best person to continue his legacy of serving the people of District 7 and Jefferson County with dedication, fairness and loyalty. I’ve always been interested in county government. When I was in high school, my summer months were spent working in the county judge’s office under the leadership of the late Judge Earl Chadick.

“I have attended every quorum court meeting since November of 2012 with the exception of two,” she said. “I have paid close attention to how the quorum court operates, what is expected of the justices and what is expected of the quorum court as a whole. I’ve been able to listen to the people of the county or the department heads who bring their concerns, questions or requests for help to the quorum court and I have observed the quorum court work to get a resolution from start to finish. I want to be a part of that resolution. Now that the opportunity has presented itself to me to do that, I am 100 percent committed to serving the people of District 7 and Jefferson County as a whole.”

According to the press release, Vannette Johnson “enthusiastically endorses his daughter’s candidacy.

“I can assure you that Melanie will be a valuable asset to the Quorum Court because of the qualities I’ve observed in her all her life,” the press release quoted Johnson as saying. “She pays attention to detail, works well under pressure and she always follows through with anything she starts — in her career and her life in general. Melanie will be able to step right in and be effective the first day.”

Dumas is a 1979 graduate of Dollarway High School and attended both Tuskegee University and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. She is employed by Priority One Services at the National Center for Toxicological Research as a technical specialist. Dumas is a member of Family Time Church & Ministries, and a member of Adah No. 424, Order of the Eastern Star, PHA. She has one daughter, Jesilyn.

She is the second candidate to announce for the position. Bruce Lockett of Pine Bluff previously announced he would seek the seat in the Democratic primary.