Columbia County lawyer Richard Ingram announced his bid to fill the Chief Magistrate Judge post on the steps of the Evans justice center Thursday.
Richard Ingram, center, announced his candidacy for Columbia County Chief Magistrate Judge on Thursday at the Evans Justice Center. He was joined by his campaign co-managers, father Richard Ingram Sr. and wife Amy Ingram.
Photo by Donnie Fetter
Ingram's competition on the Republican ballot will be Associate Magistrate Judge Wade Padgett, departing Chief Magistrate David Huguenin's hand-picked successor, and Hal Morris, who ran against Huguenin in 1996.
Before becoming a lawyer, eventually becoming a partner at Fleming, Jackson, Ingram and Floyd, Ingram said he was once a bricklayer and mason.
"I believe that experience gives me the ability to understand everyday problems," he said. "I intend to be a people's judge."
He also said he wants to be an administrator that takes care of his employees.
Ingram said he has a problem with upcoming budget changes with the court.
The Magistrate Court is looking at cuts up to $150,000 for next year. Padgett, who is working on the budget numbers with county officials, said the court has been expecting the cutbacks for a while as a way to streamline operations.
Part of the cuts - about $60,000 - could come from taking some full-time magistrates and making them part-time workers, changing them to an on-call basis rather than having them available at the courthouse 24 hours.
"I don't think it's right to single out certain individuals and take half their salary from them," Ingram said after his speech. "Under my administration, that wouldn't happen.
"If we have to tighten our belts, then we'll all tighten our belts."
There are no Democratic candidates in the race, so the winner will be decided July 20 during the Republican primary.
Padgett made his formal announcement to run on April 28, and Morris said he is planning to hold his official kick-off in the coming days.
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