Vote 2022 Election Profiles: Randolph County Judge
Meet the five Republican candidates for Randolph County Judge
RANDOLPH COUNTY, Ark. (KAIT) - In November, Randolph County voters will elect a new county judge. First, though, the Republican candidate must be decided between five candidates.
Randy Barber, Paul Carr, James “Jamie” DeJournett, Ben Derrick, and Greg Mathews are all running on the GOP ticket for the county’s highest public position. Each candidate has a unique background and a different outlook on what their respective administrations would look like.
Barber most recently worked under Dr. Todd Higginbotham at Higginbotham Family Dentistry in Jonesboro. Prior to that, he served as a supervisor at a mental health behavior facility for 10 years.
Before that, he worked for the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office for 12 years. His resume also includes a stint with the National Guard, farming experience, and tool manufacturing.
According to Barber, his greatest strength is his communication skills. He said that alone gives him an advantage over the competition. That, along with his self-described “strong work ethic,” is what he said makes him the fittest for the job.
“We’re trying to include everyone in the county. I represent everyone. I’ve got a good relationship with all the mayors in the county,” Barber said. “We’re going to work together as one and move this county forward into the future.”
If elected, Barber said there isn’t one single issue he will focus most on, but that there are “several issues” atop his priority list. Two he mentioned are improving roads and increasing funding for the sheriff’s department.
Barber has lived in Randolph County for 58 years. He currently serves on the quorum court and previously served on the Maynard School Board.
Carr retired in late March from the Arkansas Department of Transportation after 28 years of service. Most recently, he spent 12 years as a maintenance supervisor for ArDOT.
A lifelong Randolph County resident, Carr’s top concern is fixing and maintaining roads. He said the county is seeing an influx of commercial traffic, and the current infrastructure is not up to par to support it all. He said he has been involved with the issue for several years and wants to see them resolved.
Additionally, he said Randolph County is one of two counties that have not received route plans for future Interstate 57. That’s an issue he wants to be resolved.
“Our connection to that is going to be paramount to the future of our county,” Carr said. “We also have a congestion problem in Pocahontas with our commercial traffic. That’s something I’ve been working on personally for the past many years.”
Though roads are his focus, he said that’s not all that’s on his radar. He said he will also focus on the county budget, and make sure all small towns within the county are represented and supported in their efforts to better their communities.
James “Jamie” DeJournett
DeJournett has lived in Randolph County for 43 of his 45 years. He spent 10 of those years working for the county in various roles, whether that meant driving a truck, running a backhoe, or sitting in on meetings. Now, he owns his own business. He said that in itself shows that he knows how to serve in a leadership position and how to “pinch pennies to make things work.”
To DeJournett, roads are the biggest issue Randolph County is facing.
“Randolph County has 1,200 miles of gravel roads. There are a lot of issues that need to be focused on, including drainage and pipes crossing those roads. Those are issues we have to take care of. In order to meet the high traffic, we have got to get the roads fixed back to par for the safety of our community,” DeJournett said.
If elected, DeJournett said he will have an open-door policy for residents to voice their concerns. He said he wants to represent everyone, not just the residents of Pocahontas, the county seat.
Derrick most recently served as the City of Pocahontas’ Code Enforcement Officer. Before that, he spent 23 years as an Army Ranger. He said between his service in the city government and experience as a small business owner, he has what it takes to unite the county and move it forward.
In fact, he said unity is his top priority.
“A lot of our outside, smaller cities often get neglected. What I would like to do is establish a quarterly forum where I can bring in the mayors and county elected officials and share resources and communicate and establish networking so we can better serve our citizens,” Derrick said. “I believe I’m the only candidate that can unite the county.”
Additionally, Derrick wants to update the E911 system in the county, as well as update Office of Emergency Management procedures to prepare for natural disasters. He also wants to build a county website with social media accounts to get information to residents easier.
He said the thing that sets him apart from other candidates is his innovative, “out of the box” thinking to find solutions to problems.
Mathews is pursuing the office of Randolph County Judge after a 20-year stint with FedEx. Before that, he worked in a factory, working his way up to plant manager. He said he’s not a politician, but he believes that will work to his advantage.
“I look at that as a positive. I don’t owe anyone any favors,” Mathews said. “I’m for every citizen in this county. I’m going to be fair and honest.”
He said his top priority is fixing road issues. To do so, he said he will hire a grant writer. The position will focus on writing grants for state and federal funding that will then go toward fixing and maintaining roads and purchasing new equipment to do so. When it comes to transportation, he said he’s focused on both upkeep and restoration. He said he wants to fix roads instead of instituting temporary fixes.
Mathews added that small communities in Randolph County have been forgotten in the past, but under his administration, that won’t be the case.
Additional Election Information
For more information on the 2022 Arkansas Preferential Primary Election, you can visit the Vote 2022 page on our website.
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