|Judge Burgess working with AR Gov. Hutchinson|
Judge Larry Burgess is a unique politician and judge in a world full of people who make questionable campaign promises and sometimes-underhanded deals. He is different in that he did not participate in the outrageous campaign promises that some potential county judges make, such as “You can get your driveway paved by voting for me!” He simply avoided and refused to do anything that would bring his character or the office of county judge into question. As a judge, he has been direct, honest and open. Even when he has come under fire from the newspaper and others, Burgess stood by what decisions he made and explained them in detail to anyone interested.
I have watched Judge Burgess from his first announcement to run for the office, through the recount of his first election, and through his following victories. I have seen his name on the front page of the paper both for what the paper considers good and bad. I have seen him face difficult questions and I have seen him work to improve Miller County. One thing I have always noticed about Burgess is that he threw 100% of himself into the job. He made sure the courthouse is neat, updated as it can be, and he worked diligently to ensure Miller County continued to grow in a positive manner. He has worked to see grants come into the county, and improvements to all corners of the county. He has answered the call of emergencies as well as the call from local citizens to complain. Judge Burgess has proved a campaign cornerstone that he wanted to be a judge for the people of Miller County.
Today’s article in the Texarkana Gazette indicating that Burgess will not run for reelection was sad news for the county and for Republicans. The article also noted that the judge would be spending more time with his wife. This is a positive win for Burgess’ family. Amber Burgess, the judge’s wonderful and faithful wife through all these elections and the work of the judge, has been a backbone of the judge’s campaigns and has even been a constant worker at the Republican headquarters. During the last election cycle, she almost single-handily ran the campaign headquarters on Arkansas Blvd. It must be assumed that as the judge and Amber step out to spend more time with family and friends that they will back away from the political spotlight. For the committee, this means not only the loss of a great judge, but also the loss of a campaign worker that simply cannot be replaced.
Judge Burgess has a little over a year left to serve Miller County. During this time, the county would do wise to not dismiss him as former judge. The wise thing to do would be to watch him, learn from him and follow his lead. The next judge will need to be honest, loyal to the citizens of Miller County, and will need to work to improve everything from the county parks and roads to the county courthouse. If the next judge does not watch and learn from Burgess, then Miller County will be on the losing end. The sad truth is, regardless of whom the next judge is, the county is already on the losing end simply by Burgess leaving. There will be large shoes to fill under the desk of County Judge come January 2017. On a personal note, I will miss the thrill of the campaign season with Judge Larry and Amber Burgess.