Editors Note: The following is a Sponsored Article paid for by Tommy Potter Campaign Committee
Why I’m running for office
I’ve always had a keen interest in community service. I was elected to the City Board in 1999 and later served as Assistant Mayor until I resigned in 2005 when appointed City Prosecutor. It’s been my honor to serve our community for the last 15 years in this capacity. Being District Court Judge will enable me to continue serving not only this community but Lafayette County as well. Serving as judge will afford me the opportunity to resolve disputes rather than advocate for one side or the other, serving not only the litigants themselves but the community as a whole.
Why I’m the best candidate for this position
My experiences in 30 years of private practice, as public defender and a prosecutor will bring a unique perspective to this position. In private practice, I have dealt with a variety of cases-breach of contract, personal injury, divorce and custody, employment, and criminal. Each of these cases may have issues which result in the parties appearing before the district court for some reason. The ability to see issues from all sides is paramount for a fair, impartial, and deliberative judge. The experience gained over these last 30 years have equipped me to be such a judge.
Current challenges facing the district court
Texarkana is at a crossroads, especially in terms of jail usage, cost, and capacity. We must be able to incarcerate those who need incarceration, but at a reasonable cost. In addition, recent appellate decisions have made it imprudent to continually incarcerate someone for non-payment of fines, particularly if they have no way to pay. Increasing the available avenues of community service will reduce the amount of outstanding fines for these people and help the community in general, particularly if geared toward assisting public works in alleviating trash and weeds.
My top goals as your district judge
Texarkana’s criminal cases are heard at 1:00 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. With this in mind, I am exploring the feasibility of setting criminal arraignments at 9:00 am and starting trials at 1:00 pm. The result will be a more manageable docket and ensure that criminal cases are heard quickly.
Over the years, Texarkana has seen a significant rise in code enforcement violations. With respect to these, the City wants and needs compliance in a timely fashion. Many violations simply involve removal of trash and weeds, the remedy for which is merely effort on the part of the landowner. Violators must be given a clear deadline to comply.
I began my private practice in Texarkana in 1989 with my father, Charles Potter. That practice grew to include my brothers, Jake Potter and Josh Potter, in 2011. I served as public defender for Miller and Lafayette counties from 1992 to 1994, and in 2005 I was appointed Prosecuting Attorney for the City of Texarkana.
I’ve been active with the Boy Scouts most of my life. I am an Eagle Scout and recipient of the Silver Beaver Award, District Award of Merit and Vigil Honor. I served as a scoutmaster and faculty member at Philmont Scout Ranch. I founded Good Neighbor Bee Co. 3 years ago and have become active in the Gateway Farmers Market.
I earned my Juris Doctorate at the University of Arkansas School of Law in Fayetteville (1989) and a Bachelor of Science, Biology and Classical Languages from Tulane University (1985). I graduated from Arkansas High School in 1979.
My wife, Rebecca, and I live in Texarkana and have a son, Taylor (24), and a daughter, Lauren (21).