Craighead County judge will not seek another term; may not be done with public service

by George Jared ([email protected]) 543 views 

Craighead County Judge Ed Hill will not seek a fifth term. Hill, 62, told Talk Business & Politics he’s worked for the county a total of 43 years, and he thinks it’s time to pursue other endeavors. He wants to continue to serve the community in some public service role such as a justice of the peace or he might seek a state house seat.

Hill, a Democrat, recently made this decision and he hasn’t had time to contemplate his next step, he said. First elected in 2010, the judge plans to fulfill the rest of his term that ends at the end of the year.

“I’m going to step down as county judge at the end of the year … it’s time to move on,” he said.

County judges in Arkansas serve two year terms, but that will change to four year terms next year. It was a factor in his decision, he said. The county judge post is a non-stop job, and he thinks a younger judge with fresher ideas might be needed.

One thing Hill won’t miss is the constant “politics” associated with the job. He thinks county offices should be held by non-partisans. It doesn’t make any sense for these offices to have political affiliations when municipalities don’t, he said.

“We are all here to serve the people. It doesn’t matter if they’re a Republican, Democrat, or something else,” he said. “Those things never entered my mind when someone asked for help or needed the county to do something. It shouldn’t be political.”

Hill began his career in the Craighead County road department in 1975. He spent years working the roads in the populous county in Northeast Arkansas. He steadily moved up through the ranks, and was eventually named county road superintendent. It’s a post he held for nine years prior to his election.

He might endorse a candidate to replace him, he said. He expects several people to seek the office now that he has decided to retire from it. If or who he will endorse will depend on who runs, he said.

During his tenure, the county has fostered stronger bonds with the other county offices, and city officials throughout the county. Hill said he’s tried to work closely with other civic leaders such as Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin. He will miss working with his employees, some of whom he’s worked with for many years, he added.

Hill may not seek another office. He has hobbies and other endeavors he’d like to take part in. When he will make a decision is still “in the air,” he said.

“We will wait until the dust settles to see where we’re at … I’m in no hurry to make a decision,” he said.