Frank Owens of Walnut Ridge has announced his candidacy for Lawrence County Judge.
“I am a life-long resident of Lawrence County and was raised in Sedgwick, where my family has resided for over 100 years,” Owens stated in his announcement.
A graduate of Hoxie High School and member of the Sedgwick United Methodist Church, Owens is married to the former Brandi Tillman, also a life-long resident of Lawrence County. She is a Walnut Ridge High School graduate, and their children, Max and Olivia, are students at Walnut Ridge.
Owens said he believes he has the experience needed to fulfill the role of county judge, including 28 years of service to Sedgwick, Hoxie and Walnut Ridge through the fire department.
“I started as a volunteer in Sedgwick and then served the communities of Hoxie and Walnut Ridge,” he said. “The last 10 years I served as both fire chief and building inspector for the city of Walnut Ridge. During my tenure, I worked extensively with municipal budgets, worked closely with Lawrence County 911, serving on the Lawrence County 911 Board, and was appointed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson to the Arkansas Fire Protection Services Board.”
Owens said he has a working knowledge of the economic development endeavors of Lawrence County, including the county’s participation in the Northeast Arkansas Intermodal Authority. He also serves on the Lawrence County Fair Board and was named Man of the Year in 2016 by the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce.
He said he is not the type of person to simply sit in an office.
“My priority will be to be out and about on a daily basis visiting and addressing the concerns of the citizens of Lawrence County,” Owens said. “As your county judge, I will be out checking rural roads, drainage ditches and levees and when in the office, I will be keeping a close eye on the budget.”
He said after speaking with residents over the past year, one of the major concerns is rural road conditions, which he plans to address.
“Residents are also concerned about taxes, available residential housing and our need to have a workforce ready for new and existing industry,” Owens said. “As Lawrence County Judge, I understand that having a ready workforce is an issue for our county, as well as Northeast Arkansas, and I will work hard to address this issue.”
In addition to his career as a firefighter, Owens has owned and worked in construction companies, with experience in property development and road and utility construction. He has also worked on row crop farms and cattle farms.
“Lawrence County is all these things and more, and in my capacity as Lawrence County judge, I am here to help all the residents of the county and address their concerns,” he said, noting he would work with all county officials to make the county run smoothly. “I have the experience and knowledge to serve the people of Lawrence County as county judge, and I have a desire to see the county grow and succeed during these changing times.”