In a flurry of emails Wednesday morning, Sen. Stu Smith announced he will not be seeking re-election, and Independence County Judge Robert Griffin announced his candidacy to fill Smith’s vacancy.

Smith announced that he would not seek a third term as a state representative from District 63.

“I will continue to work hard and proudly represent my district for the remaining 15 months of my current term,” Smith wrote, adding it has been an honor and a privilege to serve the people of Independence County and Arkansas. He does not have any immeadiate plans, but has an open mind towards any good opportunity that might present itself.

“Thank you for allowing me to serve the best folks I know. I love Independence County and the people who make it such a wonderful place to call home,” Smith wrote in closing.

Griffin, who has served nearly 11 years as the judge of Independence County, announced he would not seek re-election in June. So far, two Republicans have stepped forward to vie for the vacancy. Batesville Fire Department Chief Brent Gleghorn, and Benjamin Rogers, an employee with the Independence County Sheriff’s Office.

Griffin wrote in his announcement that Smith has been “a great advocate” for Independence County in the Arkansas House of Representatives, and that he has “promised to carry on legislation of interest he has begun and work to bring into law those that are in the best interest of our citizens, businesses, municipalities and county government here at home.”

Griffin writes: “We are in a time that it is very important to have a strong voice in the State House to protect against the Orwellian designs coming from Washington D.C. The rights of our citizens must be protected first and foremost. I have illustrated as county judge that fiscal responsibility is an important duty. Government simply cannot spend what it doesn’t have.”

Griffin added that “transparency is a key to the success of legislative bodies. “As your State Representative, I will be diligent in protecting individual freedoms and rights as guaranteed in the Constitution.”

Griffin touted his working knowledge and familiarity of the leadership and committees at the capitol, while remaining available to hear concerns and respond to questions with truth and honesty.

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