Respect for Richie
Itís almost time to flip the calendar to October, and that means the 2018 election is just around the corner.
Itís an important one, both nationally and, perhaps more importantly for the people of Carroll County, on the local front.
Weíll be electing a new sheriff, for sure. There are also contested races for county judge, county clerk, the mayorís seats in both Green Forest and Eureka Springs, just to name a few.
The Carroll County Quorum Court will look a bit different in January, too, with the departure of District 3 Justice of the Peace Lamont Richie.
Richie isnít seeking re-election in November, and his departure will likely have a significant impact on county government. A former attorney, Richie is without a doubt the most vocal member of the countyís governing body, and if he isnít the most prepared at every meeting, heís always at least tied for first. There is absolutely no one on the quorum court with a better grasp of county finances, either.
This isnít intended as a criticism of any of Richieís fellow JPs. There are some very smart people at the Quorum Court table. When District 1 JP Jack Deaton or District 10 JP Larry Swofford speak, itís a good idea to pay attention because they usually can impart some wisdom on whatever issue is at hand.
Of course, there are some JPs who rarely speak at meetings. I often wonder if they might have something worthwhile to contribute to the discussion.
Nor is this column intended to reflect a partisan attitude regarding Richieís departure. Richie is a Democrat, as am I, but I had the same feeling when former District 4 JP Ron Flake left the court. Mr. Flake is a Republican and I suspect we might have some differences of opinion politically, but I have tremendous respect for him, not just for his service and sacrifices on behalf of our country, but also for the thoughtful approach he took to his role as a JP.
Our government, at every level from Carroll County to Little Rock to Washington, D.C., needs leaders who are capable of studying important issues, forming fact-based opinions and expressing those opinions in a public venue.
We need more leaders like Lamont Richie and Ron Flake.
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Scott Loftis is managing editor for Carroll County Newspapers. His email address is CarrollCountyNews@cox-internet.com.