Billy Reynolds has been with the Richmond Hill Police Department 33 years, 31 of them as chief, so he says being probate judge would be an extension of his public service.
“I’ve been a public servant for a long time and I love what I do,” he said. “I enjoy new challenges and this opportunity would allow me to continue to work closely with the residents of Bryan County.”
Reynolds faces Richmond Hill Elementary School teacher Jennifer Cox in the May 24 primary. No Democrats filed to run, so the primary will effectively name the winner.
Probate judges in Georgia are the custodian of vital records in each county, including birth, death and marriage licenses. They also issue weapons permits and administer wills and estates.
“That’s the most important task because the death of a loved one is very emotional and traumatic and you have to be impartial,” he said. “When there are contested issues you have to work with the attorneys and understand the guidelines.”
Reynolds said his experience with policies and procedures would transfer well to the new position.
“There’s no clear cut solution to every problem,” he said. “My ability to problem solve and communicate with the public has served me well.”
Reynolds said if he wins the primary he would have to retire from the RHPD by the end of December. If he loses, he said he’ll probably retire by the end of 2017.
“I also train hunting dogs, so that would just turn into more full time,” he said. “I’m eligible to retire already, but I’m not the kind of person to sit around.”
Reynolds said he had been thinking of running for probate judge for a while but would not have challenged incumbent Judge Sam Davis, who announced in January he would be retiring after 16 years.
“Sam has done a great job, and I know his staff will be very helpful in breaking in a new judge,” Reynolds said.