Covington Police Chief Stacey Cotton announced Friday his intention to run for the office of Newton County Sheriff in 2008.
"I am here to officially announce my candidacy for Newton County Sheriff," said Cotton on the steps of the Newton County Historic Courthouse. "I believe I am the most qualified candidate for the job."
Current Newton County Sheriff Joe Nichols will retire at the end of this term. While campaigning for the job, Cotton will continue as the Covington Police chief.
"We just wanted to get the word out early," said Cotton, who is running as a republican. "I've decided to run for the office of sheriff and I want everyone to know I am serious about this. I am going to attack the campaign with everything I have."
Voters will decide on July 15, 2008, whether to elect Cotton. If another person from the Republican Party chooses to oppose Cotton, republican voters will have to choose their candidate between April 28 at 9 a.m. and May 2 at noon.
Though Cotton has not announced a set campaign platform, he promises a community based approach to the office if elected.
"They can expect the proven leadership that I have given the citizens of Newton County for the past 10 years," Cotton said. "I have served my entire career in the city of Covington and Newton County. I am somebody that looks for innovative ways to meet the challenges facing law enforcement. The way I do that is that I have always gone into the community and worked with the community to find out what the community issues are, and I am going to continue to do that. That is the key."
Cotton is the first person to announce his candidacy of the sheriff's office. He believes it is important to get the word out there early and often.
"I just want the people of Newton County to know they are going to be seeing me a lot more in public as the candidate," Cotton said.
Along with his experience as CPD chief, Cotton said his college degrees have helped prepare him for the role as sheriff.
"I've been preparing my entire career for this step," Cotton said.
Cotton has earned a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice from Mercer University and a Master of Public Administration from Troy State University and will earn a Master of Criminal Justice from Troy State University in March.
For the past few years, Cotton has been contemplating running for the office, and when Nichols announced his retirement, he was forced to make a decision.
"So I started giving real consideration to whether this is the time in my life to take that step and I believe it is," Cotton said. "Sheriff Nichols is a close friend to me and a real mentor to me and has taught me a lot including what it takes to be a leader in Newton County, and not only what it takes to be a police chief, but also the sheriff of this county. I am exited about following in his footsteps."
The two have been in close contact recently and Cotton said the sheriff has wished him luck.
"I want to continue that consistency between the Newton County Sheriff's Office and the Covington Police Department," Cotton said. "I want to continue that close relationship. Our county has a great reputation for the close relationship between the police chief and the sheriff. I believe being the sheriff, my relationship with the police department will only help the city of Covington, the citizens of Newton County and law enforcement in general."
For more information on Cotton and his campaign, visit his official Web site at www.cotton4sheriff.com.