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HUTCHERSON Continued From Page 35 <<< So when the county treasurer retired in 1996, she stepped

up. She had two opponents then but none since, but she takes nothing for granted, making appearances at everything from fire department fund raisers to chamber luncheons and county fair cook-offs. She only rarely drags her husband along to these things, though; she’s the social butterfly of the two, she says. “ I just like to be around people. I meet strangers, introduce

myself, keep going. But then, I have a crazy personality. I’m a cut up. I admit,” Hutcherson said. Baxter County Sheriff John Montgomery, a colleague on

the AAC board, sees that “crazy personality” as a strength. “She has a style that is very present with people. She keeps things light with humor and color,” he said. She also has a propensity to jump into the fray and soar to the top of whatever she joins, like a users group of 57 coun- ties that all employ the same software and, of course, the Association of County Treasurers. She

was vice

president there five years ago when a division developed among the 75 trea- surers and then the president lost reelection to her seat back home. So Hutcherson ran for and won the presidency, then knit the group back together again. Te presidency put her on the AAC board, comprised of two leaders from each association of elected county officeholders statewide. And three years later those leaders, representing 600-plus other elected county officials, have chosen her as their leader. She is only just now getting her arms around all of the respon- sibilities, having run only one official board meeting since the February day when Arkansas Supreme Court Associate Justice Courtney Hudson Goodson did the swearing-in honors. But Hutcherson understands the board’s mandate: To unite the counties and engender their support of one another to be one voice for all when they are threatened by state or federal legislation or directives that could undermine any of their rev-

“I want to bring people together, make them feel as if they are a part of what we are doing. I probaby get that from my dad.”

enue, safety, authority, livability or stature. But her style, Hutcherson predicts, will no doubt differ from the steady guiding authority of Jacobs, whom she describes as a “giant, former Razorback linebacker” with a big presence about him. Her first goal for herself is to attend a meeting of every association that is part of the AAC, introduce herself as their advocate, and hear their issues. Te recent legislative session, during which AAC lobbyists made a big difference in measures to improve back-road con- struction and jail overcrowding, among many other issues, will provide fodder for conversation wherever she goes. So will Congress’s perpetual foot-dragging on providing adequate Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILT) funding for rural counties where federal lands undermine property tax revenue. “I want to bring people together, make them feel as if they are part of what we are doing,” she said. “I probably get that from my dad.” Expect her to

have fun, too, this county


— Judy Beth Hutcherson Clark County Treasurer

who, just to stay visible everywhere she goes, hands out million dollar bills picturing her

county courthouse on one side and her contact information on the other — then lets out a hearty laugh with the takers. “She’s a hoot, very smart, very well qualified and very per- sonable,” said former AAC Board President Mike Jacobs, who became a justice of the peace after his county judgeship. “She will probably be the best president we ever had.” Agreed Debra Buckner, treasurer of Pulaski County for 14

years who has watched Hutcherson in various leadership roles over the years. “She’s so genuine. With all of the changes at the Capitol, a

new governor, new legislators and new fights for power and influence, we will be tap dancing on a new dance floor. She is the right point person — honest, gregarious, polite, knowl- edgeable and sensitive to these winds of change. She’s abso- lutely the right president for right now.”

We want your news Did an aspect of county government “make news” recently in your county?

Did any of your county officials or staff get an award, appointment or pat on the back? Please let us know about it for the next edition of County Lines magazine. You can write up a couple of paragraphs about it, or if something ran in your local paper, call and ask them to forward the story to us. We encourage you or your newspaper to attach a good quality photo, too: e-mail


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