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First Woman Probate Judge for Henry County

By: Erica Proffer
By: Erica Proffer

Henry County will soon have a new probate judge, but the transition will be unlike any other.

This will be the first time a woman is taking the office.

Joann Smith will become the probate judge and chair of the Henry County Commission.

Smith says she's up for the challenge.

When News 4 asked some workers in the probate office in Henry County what they thought of Joann Smith taking office, they cheered enthusiastically.

It’s no surprise though, knowing Smith got about 75-percent of the votes in the election.

However, what's making some rejoice is how she's the first woman elected to the position.

"She has opened doors for other woman to step up and run for the same thing," says LaTanya Drinsly, Probate Office.

However, Smith says being the first woman in the job doesn't intimidate her. "I don't feel inadequate at all in my position as a woman,” she says. “I don't feel that's an issue. I just feel like it takes people working together."

And, even the commissioners agree.

“It's real good, after 28 years. I've known her for 35, it's mighty good. She'll work well with the county and we're looking forward to working with her. I think she’ll make one of the best ones we've ever had" says Billy Barnes, District 2 Commissioner.

"This here commission will be a new task for her, but we all have news tasks every day. We'll do our best, try to learn and work together," said Tommy Jones, District 5 Commissioner.

"I look forward to working with her. I've known her all my life. She's a good asset to the county, asset to everybody," said Roger Scott, District 4 Commissioner.

Smith says her goals for the county are to work closely with the commission and employees in the probate office to bring more money and industry into the county

Smith has been working in the probate office for the past 28 years and says she can't picture herself elsewhere.

Smith met with the commissioners and county engineers Thursday to discuss how the new leadership in the county can work together to enhance Henry County.

Smith will take office January 15th.


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