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PSC candidate Gunasekara files appeal with state Supreme Court over residency ruling

Mandy Gunasekara
Photo courtesy of Mandy Gunasekara

Following a circuit court judge’s recent decision to rule Mandy Gunasekara ineligible to run for public service commission, Gunasekara has announced that she is taking the matter to the Mississippi Supreme Court.

Gunasekara, a Republican seeking the commission’s northern district seat, filed the appeal Thursday in response to a residency challenge previously filed against her alleging that she has not lived in Mississippi for the required five years prior to the date of an election.

The residency challenge, filed by DeSoto County resident and district attorney candidate Matthew Barton, targets public records that show Gunasekara, a former EPA official in the Trump Administration, voted in a Washington D.C. election on Nov. 6, 2018, and received a homestead reduction on property taxes in D.C. as recently as 2021. This year’s primaries are set for Nov. 7.

In the appeal, Gunasekara maintains that her primary address has been in Mississippi since 2018, testifying that she and her husband purchased a property in Decatur in August 2018 with renovations lasting from September 2018 until June 2019.

In the meantime, Gunasekara was commuting back and forth between Decatur and D.C. while staying with her parents when in Mississippi. The last time she voted in a D.C. election was Nov. 6, 2018. This year’s primaries are set for Nov. 7.

“The trial court’s ruling failed to address the uncontroverted testimony from Mrs. Gunasekara that in the fall of 2018, but well before November 7, 2018, she was living with her parents in her childhood home when she was in Mississippi,” a portion of the filing reads.

In a video posted on social media, Gunasekara assured supporters that she is not stepping down.

“I’m taking this fight against my candidacy all the way to the Mississippi Supreme Court,” Gunasekara said. “I’m going to finish this fight, and I hope you have my back.”

The full appeal can be viewed below.

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