Reeves names ex-state Sen. Gray Tollison as circuit judge

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A former lawmaker who served six terms in the Mississippi Senate has been appointed as a state circuit court judge.

Republican Gov. Tate Reeves on Wednesday appointed Gray Tollison of Oxford to a seat on the 3rd Circuit Court District. The appointment fills a vacancy after Judge Andrew K. Howorth retired June 30.

Tollison was first elected as a Democrat before switching to the Republican Party in November 2011, days after winning a fifth Senate term. He was the Senate president pro tempore in 2019 during his final year in office, and was an ally of Reeves, who was ending his second term as lieutenant governor. Tollison did not seek reelection in 2019.

“I’ve known Gray for years, and his commitment to his fellow Mississippians is unmatched," Reeves said in a statement Wednesday “He was a strong leader for Mississippi in the Senate, and he will continue to be a strong leader on the bench.”

Tollison said in the statement that he is honored to be appointed to the bench.

"I promise to work tirelessly to ensure justice is upheld and protected for the people of Mississippi,” said Tollison, 55, who earned his law degree from the University of Mississippi and has worked for his family's law firm since 1992.

The 3rd Circuit Court District covers Benton, Calhoun, Chickasaw, Lafayette, Marshall, Tippah and Union counties in northern Mississippi.