January 11, 2016 Edition

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Thomison takes office as judge

County Judge John Thomison (back) and Justice Donald Richey look over financial reports during Thomison's first quorum court meeting as judge Thursday night.
TD Photo ~ Megan Heyl

Megan Heyl
Staff Writer

When John Thomison learned he would be Lawrence County Judge as nominated by the Democratic Party in September, a sense of resolve settled over him. While there were still a couple of months before he would take office, he did not hesitate to start learning and planning for his responsibility to the county.

"It was sobering to know what's coming and sad because of the circumstances," he said. Thomison was nominated to replace the late Dale Freeman on the ballot in the November General Election.

Thomison of Smithville and his wife, Rita Bilbrey Thomison, have two grown children, Lindsay Thomison Penn and John Hollis Thomison III. He is retired from Sloan-Hendrix High School, where he taught for 33 years.

A former mayor of Smithville, he has been a member of several county and regional boards.

In his planning for taking office, Thomison has determined his three main focuses he will tackle while in office.

The roads are first and foremost as Thomison has taken previous County Judge Ann Pulliam's restructuring of the road department and began implementing some additional changes working with Road Foreman David Slagley.

"We want to keep the roads where people can get around," Thomison said.

The courthouse is another major focus for Thomison, not only maintenance but also cultivating and keeping a good relationship with its staff and elected officials.

Finally, Thomison will also focus on cultivating a good relationship with other elected officials across the county and work with them in efforts to see more economic development.

Working with
quorum court

Despite his planning and preparation, Thomison admitted that he was a little nervous when he sat down to call his first quorum court meeting to order Thursday night.

However those nerves dissipated as Thomison felt the trust that the court and elected officials had in him. "Their confidence in me inspires me to do the job right and keep going," he said.

Additionally, Thomison praised everyone's honesty with him when it comes to some of the harder problems to tackle.

Thomison isn't the only new guy as the quorum court has three new justices this term. "I'm really excited about the court and what they bring to the table," Thomison said.

He said it's a great blend of experienced incumbents and newly elected justices coming in with experience in other ways. He added the new JPs have a lot of knowledge and a lot of new ideas he is excited about.

First week in
office success

With a trying first week due to weather and maintenance issues at the courthouse, Thomison said he's proud how positive everyone has been. He added that the sheriff's office has been an unbelievable resource and everyone is always willing to help him with any questions he has. "It's the best work environment I've been in."

Thomison is also in the unique position to have the previous county judge still working in the office.

"There are no words to describe how wonderful Ann has been before, during and after this transition," Thomison said.

With his first week and first meeting behind him, Thomison is looking to the future and encourages Lawrence County residents to visit him.

"I look forward to seeing as many as can come."

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