Joyette Holmes was sworn in last week as Cobb’s new district attorney, making history as the first female and first African-American to hold the office. She had served as Cobb chief magistrate judge for the past five years, also historic firsts. But beyond the gender and race milestones, this dedicated public servant brings outstanding credentials and character to her new role.
In appointing her, Gov. Brian Kemp made an excellent choice for an office that is of vital importance to every Cobb citizen. The governor came to Cobb to administer the oath to the new DA who succeeds Vic Reynolds, now director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Speaking to overflow audiences at Cobb Superior Court, Gov. Kemp spoke of Holmes’ love for the county. “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. That service includes Holmes’ work as a prosecutor under DA Reynolds and Solicitor Barry Morgan and her private law practice.
Highlighting the swearing-in ceremony, Judge M. Yvette Miller of the Georgia Court of Appeals — who made history as the first woman and first African American serving in her position — said Holmes is eminently qualified for her new job by dint of hard work as a prosecutor and chief magistrate judge. Her experience “has prepared her well for this new part of her journey as district attorney of Cobb County,” Judge Miller said. She accurately described Holmes as “the total package” embodying “a marriage of qualifications and diversity.” The package includes two BA degrees, one in psychology and the other in criminal justice from the University of Georgia, and a law degree from the University of Baltimore School of Law.
Holmes took the oath on a Bible held by her husband, Bridges, with their two daughters standing close by. Far from any hint of arrogance or self-adulation, she credited her family, court employees, numerous friends and advocates for their support. She spoke of the need for working together in assuring public safety in Cobb. “It doesn’t happen without all of us,” she said. Nor without divine blessing, she said. “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.”
She had given her view of the DA’s work after her appointment was announced, emphasizing the need for a balanced approach, which she said means putting in custody “those people who are dangerous and who need to be away from the public,” and “finding alternate resolutions for those who need that rehabilitation or who aren’t the people that we’re scared of but need to be rehabilitated.” Clearly, this is a sound approach for the district attorney’s mission of upholding law and order and keeping the people of Cobb safe. To her credit, it is also clear that Holmes has compassion for those who need help through rehabilitation.
But there is much more to Joyette Holmes than her work as evidenced by her selection as one of Cobb Life Magazine’s “20 Rising Stars Under 40” and a Woman of Achievement for the Cobb County NAACP. Showing that her heart indeed is here in Cobb, she serves on the boards of MUST Ministries and the Cobb Community Foundation.
Although Gov. Kemp took Vic Reynolds from Cobb, the governor definitely made the right move in appointing Joyette Holmes to succeed him. We hope she will run for a full term next year. She makes Cobb County proud.