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By Hartsville Vidette Staff Reporter

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Judge John Wootten, Jr., who has served the Fifteenth Judicial District encompassing Jackson, Macon, Smith, Trousdale and Wilson counties as a circuit judge since 1998, announced Monday that he will retire effective Jan. 1, 2020.

In a press release Judge Wootten said: “I have notified Governor Bill Lee of my decision to retire in order for him to initiate the selection process to name a successor judge until the August 2020 election.”

Wootten added, “Public office has been described as a public trust. It truly is a rare gift from the citizens to serve in public office. I have considered it my highest professional honor. I am most grateful to the good people of this five-county judicial district for granting me their trust for over 21 years.”

Wootten was first elected in 1998 and re-elected in 2006 and 2014.