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New leaders take oaths of office

    Six new officeholders were among Lincoln County officialssworn in at a ceremony in the circuit court room Wednesdayafternoon.

    Those new officials expressed their desire to begin the year andget to work.

    “I’m raring to go,” said Joe Portrey, who will take office asjustice court judge post one in January.

    Portrey edged out two opponents in the general election and willreplace incumbent judge Ralph Boone.

    Other first-time oath-takers included incoming Justice Court JudgePost Two Chris King, Tax Assessor/Collector Rita Goss, District TwoSupervisor Jimmy Diamond, District Four Supervisor C.E. “Eddie”Brown and District Five Supervisor Dudley Nations.

    All new supervisors will replace incumbents who sought re-election,but King and Goss will replace retiring incumbents.

    The six new officeholders were joined Wednesday by some longtimeofficials, including Circuit Clerk Terry Lynn Watkins, beginning afifth term, and Tillmon Bishop, now entering his fourth term.

    Bishop’s switch from the Democratic to the Republican Party thiselection makes him the first Republican elected to countywideoffice in Lincoln County.

    “That doesn’t mean much to anybody but me,” Bishop said of hisrecord-setting electoral victory.

    King was the only other Republican taking an oath of officeWednesday, but his justice court post only includes half thecounty.

    Other incumbents returned to office include Sheriff Steve Rushing,District One Supervisor the Rev. Jerry Wilson, District ThreeSupervisor Nolan Earl Williamson, Constable Post One Kelly Porter,Constable Post Two Lavon Boyd, Superintendent Terry Brister andCounty Surveyor Joe Byrd.

    All officials begin their terms on Jan. 3. And though Portrey maybe raring to go, he said he won’t begin hearing cases until Jan.17.

    Portrey has been working to prepare himself. He said he hasobserved justice courts throughout the region.

    “You look at what each judge does, how they run their court andpick a little bit from each,” Portrey said.

    Circuit Judges Michael Taylor and David Strong and Chancery JudgeEd Patten presided over the swearing-in ceremony.

    Patten spoke concerning the importance of such ceremonies.

    “The U.S. is one of the greatest nations, predicated on the rightof ‘we the people’ to elect our officials,” Patten said.

    Patten said the ceremony is significant for the presiding judges aswell as the officeholders.

    “We take special joy in this exercise in democracy,” Pattensaid.

    Patten also charged those taking their oaths to commit toexcellence, character and public service.

    “The people expect and demand personal responsibility,” Pattensaid. “The people of Lincoln County elected you. Make themproud.”