Judge rules former Mt. Vernon mayor can run again following felony conviction

MT. VERNON, Ky. (WKYT) - Clarice Kirby's campaign plans for mayor of Mt. Vernon were recently sidelined by a lawsuit filed by current Mayor Mike Bryant. Bryant is also running for re-election and claimed Clarice Kirby's "restoration of rights" by the governor following her 2009 felony conviction was not clearance for Clarice to run for mayor again. During a recent court hearing, Mayor Bryant said Kirby's partial pardon was just that: partial. Bryant said she shouldn't be able to re-run for office. In the judge's ruling released this week, the judge agreed with Kirby, saying the governor chose to give Kirby her right to vote and hold public office. There can be no other interpretation.

"I respect the court's decision, however I respectfully disagree with the findings," Mayor Bryant responded. "Evidently, it's not OK for her to have a gun but it is OK for her to be a candidate in which the office is responsible for millions of dollars in taxpayer funds. She may have paid her debt to society, but we are still working hard to overcome her embarrassing crime."

Kirby met us after the ruling outside her home in Mt. Vernon. "Now I can go forward to the unfinished business of becoming mayor again."

The lawsuit was a speed bump in an already rocky ride. The former two-term mayor has been making the news for years. She pleaded guilty to abuse of public trust in 2009, a felony. She told the court at the time that she wanted to get rid of the job of mayor which had caused her so much trouble. "I thought (at the time), I can't go back to that. If they want me out as bad as they are trying to get me out, I can't fight them any more," Kirby said.

But now, a change of heart. She wants back in. "I want to start over fresh as if it's my first time. Overall this community is a great community and I want to make it better," Kirby said.

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