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Niceley wins state senate seat - Ross takes judge's post

Published: 12:05 AM, 08/03/2012 Last updated: 12:15 AM, 08/03/2012

Source: The Rogersville Review

By Bill Grubb
News Editor

ROGERSVILLE - Republican Cynthia Bundren Jackson may have carried Hawkins County but former State Representative Frank Niceley won the six-county race for state senator.
    Current State Senator Mike Faulk opted not to seek re-election earlier this year.
    Unofficial Hawkins County results results show Jackson with 2,556 votes to Niceley's 1,735 votes.  Jeff Brantley got 213 votes and Hobart Rice had 189 votes.
    In the entire district Niceley received 7,020 votes to Jackson's 5,430, Brantley's 1,816 and Rice's 1,483 votes.
    In the Republican primary, incumbent U.S. Congressman Phil Roe faced no opponents and will face Democrat Alan Woodruff, who was also unopposed in his primary.
    Incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Bob Corker easily won Hawkins County with 3,697 votes, and will apparently face challenger Mark Clayton, who only received 127 votes in Hawkins County.  Statewide Corker received 382,964 votes to Clayton's 47,961.

By Bill Grubb
News Editor

ROGERSVILLE - Beginning September 1 a new General Sessions Court judge will take the bench.
    J. Todd Ross, a Republican, handily defeated Democrat Terry Risner Thursday by  2,819 votes, 4,064 to 1,245.
    Ross will serve the remainder of an eight-year term that began in 2006, with the post back on the ballot in 2014.
    "I'm just glad this part is over," Ross said as he received calls and hugs from family members and well wishers.
    The late Judge David Brand was elected judge in 2006, but passed away last May.  Former Judge James F. Taylor was appointed by Hawkins County commissioners in July of 2011, but came in third in the March 2012 Republican primary.
    Ross won the nomination and Rogersville attorney R. B. "Buddy" Baird coming in second. Risner had no opposition in the Democrat primary. 
    Taylor eventually had to resign as judge May 1, 2012, as part of an agreement with the Court of the Judiciary. He has since been indicted on theft charges by grand juries in Davidson and Hawkins counties and remains in custody in Davidson County awaiting trial.  Democrat Chris Raines was appointed by commissioners in May to serve until the new judge takes the bench.
    Rebuilding confidence in the county's judicial system will be one of the judge-elect's highest priorities.
    "The most immediate issue that will face whoever takes office in September will be restoring public confidence in the Office of the General Sessions Court judge.  Throughout the last several months, the controversies and allegations related to this position seem to have taken a dramatic toll on public opinion as it relates to the Court.  The General Sessions Court has the potential to be a major influence on our community, but it needs the support of the community to be successful," Ross said in a candidate profile earlier this year.
    Although the post is on the ballot n 2014, Ross already said he intends to be a candidate for re-election.
    "I hope to be Hawkins County's General Sessions judge for a long time," he added.
    Ross is is married to Heather Ross and has three children, Sydney, Lauren and John.
    He earned a J.D. from the Appalachian School of Law, Grundy, Virginia.  He was Summa Cum Laude and was ranked first in his class, making the Dean's List each semester.                        
    He formed his own law firm, now known as Ross & Associates, Attorneys at Law, LLC, located in Kingsport, in 2004.  He also was the director of the Adventure Program of Frontier Health, Inc. in Johnson City, a therapist and family case manager with Children & Youth Services and a psychiatric technician at Woodridge Hospital.
    In contested county school board races, second district incumbent Burl W. Smith lost his race with challenger Chris W. Christian, with 334 votes for Smith and 566 for Christian.
    The third district race pitted incumbent appointee Kurt Cornett against the former third district board member Kathy Cradic and newcomer Darin R. McCllelan.  Cradic won the race with 363 votes while Cornett received 147 votes and McClellan collected 79.
    Appointed Constable Jerry L. Matlock, a Republican, retained his seat , defeating Democrat Joshua R. Bellamy 465 votes to 110 votes.
    Vote totals for uncontested races included:
      Jeff Thacker, assessor of property, 3,992 votes.
      Sarah Davis, clerk of courts, 4,168 votes.
      Daniel Boyd, juvenile court judge, 4,283 votes.
      Bobby Larkins, first district school board member, 461 votes.
      Michael B. Williams, fifth district school board member, 833 votes.
      Josh C. Myers, seventh district constable, 458 votes.
    Election officials note that all results are considered unofficial until they are certified.

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