Drew County Justice of the Peace Jimmy Potter walked out of the Drew Courthouse Monday night symbolically ending three decades of continuous public service on the quorum court. Potter, whose final term effectively ends at midnight on December 31, is currently the second longest-serving elected county official in Drew County. Only Drew County Coroner Charles Fred Dearman, who has served 41 years, has served longer than Potter.
Potter, 77, decided last February not to seek another term. “I think it’s probably time for me to turn it over to someone younger,” he said in an interview earlier this year.
During his 30 years of service, the county constructed the Drew County Detention Center, three bridges across Bayou Bartholomew, and a better county road system, Potter said, citing three major accomplishments of which he is most proud.
Potter said when he first took office in 1983, the county couldn’t even afford to purchase grader blades to grade the county’s gravel roads but Drew County voters’ passage of a county road tax paved the way for a better road system.
Potter, a fiscal conservative known for opposing most tax increases and keeping a close watch the county’s proverbial pocketbook, not only voted for the road tax, he spent his personal funds on advertising to promote its passage.
“When I first took office you couldn’t get down some roads with a four-wheel drive but now you can drive down them 50 or 60 miles an hour,” Potter said.
Potter served during five county administrations, beginning with then-County Judge Harold West who later became mayor of Monticello.