Announcements shake up local politics
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Joe Beard, Harold Cook and Sarah James say they will not seek re-election in 2019
From Staff Reports
While most of Greene County’s elected officials appear to be looking toward running for re-election, a couple of key political figures turned heads this week with announcements they will not be adding their names to the ballots in 2019.
Dist. Five Supervisor Harold Cook officially addressed speculation about his political future on Monday when he confirmed to other board members in an open meeting that he had indeed decided to leave public office at the end of this term. The announcement came shortly after supervisors had accepted the resignation of Dist. 4 Election Commissioner Sarah James from her current post.
James did not indicate in her resignation letter to county supervisors, but told the Herald Tuesday she intended to stay involved with county government.
“Yes, I am considering running for a county-wide office,” James wrote in an email to the Herald. “I have not made any official moves, yet.”
“I truly enjoyed my time with the Election Commission and could not have asked for a better group of individuals to work with.”
Supervisors appointed Vernal resident Beth Ross to fill the remainder of James’ term on the Election Commission. That office, and the Dist. 3 seat on the commission, will be up for grabs in November during special elections, but will be included on the General Election ballot. The Dist. 3 post is currently being held by Deborah Freeman, who was appointed by county supervisors after the resignation of Ann Mott last year.
Another announcement came Tuesday when longtime Justice Court Judge L. Joe Beard announced shortly after a court session that he would not seek a tenth term in office. When asked by phone later Tuesday, Beard did not give any specifics for his decision, but said he “felt blessed to have been able to serve the people of Greene County for nine terms in office” and that it was just time for him to step away from public office. He said he would continue in his private legal practice and remain as municipal judge for the Town of Leakesville, a position he was appointed to by the Leakesville Board of Alderman in 2005.
Several other incumbents, including the current county-wide offices of sheriff, tax assessor, circuit and chancery clerk, and coroner have qualified for reelection, as has one of the current supervisors. Two candidates have already qualified to seek Cook’s position and one has announced intentions to seek Beard’s seat on the Justice Court bench.
Qualifying packets for residents looking to run for political office in 2019 are now available and can be obtained at the circuit clerk’s office. The deadline to file the Qualifying Statement of Intent and other information is no later than Friday, Mar. 1, 2019, at 5 p.m. The deadline to qualify to run for election commissioner in Dist. 3 or 4 is Friday, Sept. 6.
Interested persons are encouraged to contact the circuit clerk’s office at (601)394-2379 for more information. Qualifying information may also be obtained by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.