Meeting our newly elected officials

Posted December 5, 2018 at 11:10 am

Ricky Craig headshot 12-18.psd

Ricky Craig anxious to make move to Judge/Executive

Ricky Craig is no stranger to local politics, having served four total terms as Magistrate for the Fourth District. He will now be moving up from a member of the fiscal court to leader of county government in January to serve his first term as Clinton County Judge/Executive.

Craig, a Clinton County native and 1977 graduate of Clinton County High School, is the son of the late J.R. and Ilene Craig and is one of five children. He is married to the former Deane Copeland of Byrdstown, Tennessee and they have one daughter and son-in-law, Brandy and Josh Woolridge, also of Albany.

He and his wife attend Stony Point Baptist Church.

Craig began his working career at Sutton Shirt factory and then worked at Houchens until his retirement from there. After that, he began his own trophy making business, which he has operated for 33 years.

The judge/executive-elect began his political career when he was first elected magistrate in 1998, serving one term. He ran again in 2002 and was elected three straight times, currently serving in that position until the end of this month.

Craig said he had been told that he was the first “sitting” magistrate ever to be elected county judge in Clinton County while serving on the fiscal court.

The incoming judge said he had considered seeking the office four years ago and said he and his wife had prayed about it then and he decided the time wasn’t right.

He admitted that after many prayers again, he decided the time was right to make a bid and admitted he had actually been “running” for the office for several months prior to the actual 2018 elections, saying he campaigned “right up through election day,” visiting many homes more than once.

Craig says he feels his experience on the fiscal court was one of his primary assets for the job. “I thought, maybe there is something I can do to move the county in a different, productive way.” He added, “we have good people here and this is a good, beautiful place to live.”

Craig, who also has a long-time “trash” route area in which he picks up trash along the roadway, noted that keeping the county clean, was important to him.

He noted also that one of the first things he would like to do as judge/executive is to hire someone whose specific jobs would be to write grants to help obtain much needed funds for county projects.

Craig added that he had already met with several state and area officials and said working with people in Frankfort and especially the ADD (Area Development District) would be a crucial part of his job.

He said the Tourism Commission was doing a good job, but inferred that the ADD helps obtain a lot of funding for counties in the Lake Cumberland area.

“I would like to help bring some different kind of jobs for everyone,” said Craig and “I will work with existing entities to help make that happen.”

Craig said he felt the incoming fiscal court would be really good to work with, and looks forward to working with the city and all county elected officials in the coming years. He also added that he was going to have monthly meetings with all departments involved in county government, such as the road department, EMS, etc.

Keeping county roads in good condition, as well as keeping right-of-ways in the county mowed and snow and ice removed in the winter is also a top priority for Craig.

The judge/elect noted he would be hiring his own office staff, road foreman and doing reorganization in some office areas, but noted, “I do not want to see anyone (such as road crew, etc.) lose their jobs.”

Craig again stressed the need for cooperation with area, state and local officials and thinks the by-pass water project is important to the future growth of the county and city.

He indicated his door would always be open to the public and he would be willing to listen to any new ideas anyone has that would make the county better and move it forward.

Craig said he would like to thank all the magistrates and county judges, past and present, that he has worked with over the years. “We have sometimes had our differences, but I respect everyone’s opinion,” he said.

“I also want to thank all of my supporters for the confidence they have placed in me,” he said.

Craig concluded, “We’re gonna work hard on the issues and do what is best…I see a bright future for our county going forward.”