MARIETTA — Cobb County officially has a new district attorney.
Gov. Brian Kemp swore in Joyette Holmes as the county’s new district attorney July 1.
Holmes was formerly chief magistrate judge for the Cobb County Judicial Circuit.
She replaces former DA Vic Reynolds, who Kemp tapped to lead the Georgia Bureau of Investigation at the start of the year.
The district attorney is the county’s chief prosecutor. Holmes will decide which cases to prosecute and oversee the prosecution’s cases.
Holmes wiped her eyes as she thanked her family, court employees and a long list of others for their support over the years, and she pledged to continue working on behalf of the public.
“We chose Cobb County because we know we’ll be safe in Cobb County,” she said. “Public safety means everything to all of us. … It doesn’t happen without all of us. There’s a formula, and I understand there are groups that believe that the formula should be balanced one way or the other, but as long as we are working through that formula together, we are going to come up with the right answer … We’ve got to keep it moving in the way it has moved.”
She also thanked God for helping her get to where she is.
“I always talk about being specific in your prayers, but sometimes when you pray, you pray that God’s will be done, and that if this is the place for me to continue to serve, let that be,” she said, “and I thank God that that was his will, and that I’m able to stand before you today as Cobb County’s next district attorney.”
The ceremonial courtroom at Cobb Superior Court was packed for Holmes’ swearing-in, and two other rooms were set aside so others could watch the proceedings live on video.
Gov. Kemp said one of Holmes’ best qualities is her love for Cobb County, and he said that will serve her well in her new role.
“I thought it was very appropriate to do the swearing-in here in a place that Joyette will be serving, in the place where her family is, where her heart is and where she has served so well,” he said.
Many came out to celebrate a historic day for the county — Holmes is both Cobb’s first woman DA and its first African American DA.
Holmes said she was grateful to everyone who came before who made her appointment possible.
“At a time when there was not a female in the room, when there was not an African American in the room, there was somebody who began to advocate for those people,” she said, “and I’m grateful for those advocates that have been in my life, because even if I had done the work, even if I had maintained the integrity and qualities that I’m honored and humbled to hear people talk about, without having that advocate, it doesn’t happen. So I’m grateful to have advocates, and know that I am there to be an advocate.”
Presiding Judge M. Yvette Miller of the Georgia Court of Appeals, herself the first African American woman to serve in that position, said the nomination is significant because of her race and gender, but she also said Holmes is eminently qualified for the role.
“The thing I want to make clear is that Joyette’s hard work as assistant district attorney, as assistant solicitor, as an attorney in private practice and chief magistrate judge has prepared her well for this new part of her journey as district attorney of Cobb County,” Miller said. “Ladies and gentlemen, she is the total package. Joyette embodies a marriage of qualifications and diversity. Starting today, women and African Americans in Cobb County will have a new representative in the district attorney’s office, and they will know they have someone they can relate to and rely on. … The district attorney will represent all people.”
Reynolds also had fond words about his replacement. He said he first met her in 2012 while campaigning with his wife, Holly Reynolds.
“I remember sometime during that campaign, Holly told me, ‘Vic, if you ever get the chance, you need to hire that lady,’” he said with a smile. “She was a wise woman. I did that, and seven years later, look where we’re at.”