More candidates in running for probate judge

Published 8:21 pm Saturday, March 7, 2009

At least two more men have entered their names in hopes of becoming the next probate judge of Pike County.

Both Bill Key and Clif Hastings, local attorneys, who said last week they were considering seeking the position, have made their decisions final.

“I decided to put my name in the ring,” Key said. “I have submitted my name to the governor’s office.”

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Key’s has practiced law since 1995 and worked closely in the Pike County Probate Court.

Key said his interest in the job comes from a desire to serve the county residents.

Hastings, who has practiced law since 1995 and worked at Cevera, Ralph & Reeves for around five years, said last week he wasn’t ready to comment on if he was interested in the probate judge seat.

But, Hastings confirmed he has submitted a letter of interest to Gov. Bob Riley’s office in hopes of being selected to serve.

“The decision to seek the office of probate judge is one I reached after much prayerful consideration, self evaluation and encouragement from friends and family,” Hastings said. “I’m no politician, but I’m a person who believes strongly in public service.”

Hastings said his experience in his field will qualify him to serve should he get appointed.

“As a practicing attorney, I believe I’m qualified for this position, and my business and managerial experience will also help me to operate business proficiently and effectively.”

Several others last week said they had an interest in the seat, but they could not be reached for confirmation before press time. Local attorney Thomas Haigh said he would contemplate the decision before submitting an application. Others who expressed interest were Neal Armstrong, administrative analyst for the Office of Courts in Montgomery, and Wes Allen, who works in Troy University athletics.

Armstrong said he had interest but simply had not applied yet, as of last week.

Allen never said whether he would submit a resume but simply that he had received encouragement from many throughout the community.

Attorney Matt Baker of Cevera, Ralph and Reeves and Assistant Attorney General Angela Johnson both confirmed their interest in the position last week.

Still, no decisions will come until the governor makes an appointment, likely from one of the names submitted before this Friday’s deadline.

Press Secretary for Riley’s office Todd Stacy said though several have expressed interest, the list is not public.

“I can tell you there has been a significant amount of interest, and that’s a good thing,” Stacy said.

Probate Judge Bill Stone will retire effective April 1, and Stacy said the appointment would not come until after his seat is vacant.