Wolverton begins 18th, final year as Justice of the Peace

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Completing 17 years as Rusk County justice of the peace for Precinct 1, Jerdy Wolverton will begin his final year in the office before retiring at the end of 2018.

“It’s been a different type of job, but I have enjoyed all of it,” he said.

Now, he is looking forward to retirement as he enters the last year of his final term.

In his 17 years – 18 next November – Wolverton has seen thousands of citations come through his courtroom.

At 78, though, he has decided he will not seek another term.

“I just felt like now next October I’m going to be 79, and I think it’s time,” he said.

Wolverton was sworn into the office in 2000 after being appointed and ran for election in 2002 before winning re-election in 2006, 2010 and 2014. Only once, he said, did he have an opponent.

“I felt very lucky with that,” Wolverton said.

Through the job and the continuing education classes associated with it, he said, he has learned how to handle changes in the laws. With 18 years with the Kilgore Police Department, Wolverton said, he knew a lot about the criminal laws, but had to learn civil law from scratch basically.

One of the highlights of his career came earlier this year when he was selected by the Texas Justice Court Judges Association as the 2017 Judge of the Year.

“I was nominated by another judge and then everything just fell into place,” he said. “I was so surprised and so pleased.”

In his retirement, Wolverton said, he is looking forward to being more active in his church and available to do more if called and being able to spend more time with his grandsons and great-grandsons.

Wolverton’s effective retirement date is Dec. 31, 2018.

With five candidates vying for his position in the 2018 election, he said, his advice for his successor is, simply, to work hard.

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