Judge John Wootten, Jr.

Judge John Wootten, Jr.

Macon County native Judge John Wootten Jr., who has served the 15th Judicial District -- encompassing Jackson, Macon, Smith, Trousdale and Wilson counties as a circuit judge since 1998 -- announced that he will retire, effective Jan. 1, 2020.

"I have notified Governor Bill Lee of my decision to retire in order for him to initiate the selection process to name a successor judge until the August, 2020 election," Wootten said in a prepared statement. "Public office has been described as a public trust. It truly is a rare gift from the citizens to serve in public office. I have considered it my highest professional honor. I am most grateful to the good people of this five-county, judicial district for granting me their trust for over 21 years.

"Throughout the years, I have been overwhelmed by the constant and unwavering support from the people of my home county. I am humbled by their steadfast support. Wherever I have traveled or held court, I have tried to be a good representative and ambassador for the people of Macon County. In that regard, I must allow others to judge my efforts."

Wootten was first elected in 1998 and re-elected in both 2006 and 2014.