The three-term judge will finish his current term, which runs through 2018.
After serving three terms as District One Chancery Court Judge in Place One, John A. Hatcher has announced he is planning to retire from the post and will not be seeking re-election during the 2018 campaign season.
“After much prayerful consideration as to running for re-election as Chancery Judge for Place One, District One, a position you have allowed me to serve in the last eleven years, a position I love for many reasons, I have decided I shall not run for re-election,” Hatcher said in a statement. He will serve through the end of the current term, which runs through next year.
Hatcher said he had spent a significant amount of time in considering whether to seek another term, but ultimately decided it was time to step away from the office. He said he hoped by doing so at this stage it would allow highly qualified candidates from the district to launch their own campaigns.
He said he hoped the district could repeat the experience he had during his first campaign.
“When I first ran and was elected for this position twelve years ago, I faced five honorable, capable candidates, four of us being from Prentiss County,” Hatcher said. “The race was clean and dignified. The residents of the First Chancery District should and shall choose the next Chancery Judge for Place One, as he or she will be their servant.”
Hatcher said he appreciated the support he received in the first campaign and in the two ensuing election cycles. He ran unopposed for the seat in 2010 and 2014.
Hatcher said he hoped his work on the bench in the past eleven years had reflected his desire to serve the district to the best of his ability.
“I have done my best to serve with dignity, honor, wisdom and impartiality, always with the requirements of the oath I took before me, fulfilling them the best I could, remembering always that the most important part of the oath was the last sentence, ‘so help me God,’” Hatcher said.
Hatcher said he will miss working and serving in the district, but is looking forward to the next stage in his life. He plans to join his wife of 48 years, Kathy, in retirement and enjoy travel and personal pursuits.
The qualifying deadline for next year’s Chancery Judge race is May 11, with the general election set for November 6, 2018.