January 29, 2014 Edition

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Thomison formally
announces candidacy

Smithville resident John Thomison has formally announced his intent to run for Lawrence County Judge in the Democrat Primary on May 20.

"In order to encourage economic growth and promote all that Lawrence County has to offer, I will work closely with the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce, the NEA Intermodal Authority and area business leaders," said Thomison.

"I will also be readily available to listen to the concerns of citizens and work with them to make home a better place."

Thomison has been married to Rita Bilbrey Thomison for 36 years, during which time they have raised two children: Lindsay Thomison Penn, married to Chris Penn, and John Hollis Thomison III.

A rancher and lifelong livestock producer, Thomison worked for the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department for two years during college and has plans to retire this spring from 33 years of teaching history and government at Sloan-Hendrix High School.

In addition to teaching, Thomison drives a school bus, keeps the official book at school basketball games and has contributed countless hours to student activities over the years.

Thomison came to Lawrence County in 1973 on a basketball scholarship at Southern Baptist College, now Williams Baptist College. He graduated in 1980 from Arkansas State University with a bachelor's degree in social science and began his teaching career. Thomison also received his physical education/coaching certification from the University of Central Arkansas in Conway in 1983-84.

He also has a passion for community service and has served on numerous boards and committees, including the Lawrence Memorial Hospital Board of Directors, the Northeast Arkansas Intermodal Board, the Smithville Fire Improvement District Board, the Smithville Cemetery Board and the Ralph Joseph Youth Leadership Committee.

In addition, Thomison is a graduate of Leadership Lawrence County, a former mayor of Smithville and former chief of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department.

Thomison is a member of the Smithville United Methodist Church, Smithville Masonic Lodge #29, Scottish Rite Valley of Little Rock, Arkansas Cattlemen's Association and the American Quarter Horse Association.

"My primary focus is my family, promoting Lawrence County economic development in a dignified and professional manner, managing the county government fairly and equally and promoting a friendly, welcoming environment in the courthouse," he said.

"I am humbled and honored by the support I have received so far and look forward to meeting voters in the weeks to come. I pledge to give 110 percent to the office of county judge and will work hard for all residents in Lawrence County."

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