Archived Story

County’s elected officials take oaths

Published 11:07am Friday, December 28, 2012

More than just a job or a title, the role of Lawrence County Prosecuting Attorney is somewhat of a legacy.

At Thursday’s official swearing in, Brigham Anderson promised to work tirelessly to uphold that legacy, nearly 60 years to the day as his great-grandfather Carl Rose took office as Lawrence County Sheriff with Harold Spears as county prosecutor.

Rose and Spears are known for their no-nonsense approach to ridding Lawrence County of its organized crime, gambling and prostitution in the 1950s.

Before he swore in his son, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Mack Anderson recalled for those in attendance the New Year’s Eve night Rose and Spears were sworn into office, executing search warrants signed by Judge James B. Collier to find a hoard of illegal slot machines.

“I do have a legacy to uphold,” Brigham Anderson said. “And I hope I do that.”

Anderson, who ran unopposed, will take office at the end of the month to finish the remainder of J.B. Collier Jr.’s term. Collier, who served five four-year terms as prosecutor, a county record, retired effective Dec. 31. Anderson’s term begins Jan. 7.

For the other six elected officials sworn in Thursday on the third floor of the Lawrence County Courthouse, the event wasn’t any less sentimental or exciting.

Elected officials for county positions of commissioners, recorder, sheriff and clerk of courts also raised their right hands to swear to dutifully uphold their offices.

Sharon Gossett-Hager, sworn in by Judge Charles Cooper, thanked her supporters for another term as county recorder.

“My immediate family is very small,” she said. “I look upon all of you as my friends and family.”

Sheriff Jeff Lawless, also sworn in by Cooper, pledged to do the best job he could protecting the county.

“I truly love the job and I love Lawrence County,” Lawless said.

Freddie Hayes Jr. and Bill Pratt won their seats as county commissioners in two races against Doug Malone and Carl Robinson, respectively.

Both Hayes and Pratt had been appointed to the commission by their party upon vacancies on the board.

After he was sworn in by Judge David Payne, Pratt paid tribute to former commissioner Paul Herrell, who died while in office in February, by wearing his work boots with his suit.

“He would have worn his boots today, too,” Pratt said.

Hayes, who was sworn in by Ironton Municipal Judge O. Clark Collins, paid tribute to his late father.

“This was a dream of mine,” Hayes said. “I wish he was here to see this.”

Commission President Les Boggs was also sworn in Thursday by Judge Charles Cooper.

Clerk of Courts Mike Patterson was another who remembered his father at the ceremony.

Patterson was sworn in by Common Pleas Judge D. Scott Bowling, using his father’s Bible. He thanked God and his family for the opportunity to serve a second term as clerk of courts.

“I’ll do the best job I can as clerk,” Patterson said.

Cooper was sworn in Wednesday as common pleas court judge. He said he hoped to continue to combat the drug epidemic of Lawrence County.

“Sometimes prison isn’t the only thing, but when they combine their addiction with breaking into your house to get things to sell to buy drugs, it’s not just an addiction anymore. It’s a crime wave,” Cooper said. “That’s what is getting our most serious attentions, is protecting the citizens and the homes in this community. I think that strikes as deep with people as anything does, their safety and that of their homes.”


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