BLOUNTVILLE — Joe Herron resigned Monday from a District 11 seat on the Sullivan County Commission, ending 10 years of service.
Herron was midway through his third four-year term, which would have expired in August 2014.
The timing of his resignation means voters in District 11 will be able to choose someone in November to serve the remainder of that term.
In the interim, state law gives the Sullivan County Commission the option of appointing someone to the seat until the Nov. 6 election — and on Monday the commission voted to do so at its next meeting.
To be considered for the temporary appointment — viewed by political observers as a leg up for anyone hoping to win election to the seat in November — someone must be a resident of District 11 and meet other rules of eligibility.
To get on the ballot for the seat in November, would-be candidates have two choices: become the official nominee of a political party (parties have the option of holding a caucus to select a nominee to be on the ballot); or file a petition with the Sullivan County Election Commission to run as an independent.
Administrator of Elections Jason Booher said those petitions are available now from the Election Office.
Herron said he feels blessed for the life he has led since moving to Kingsport in 1985, including involvement in numerous community organizations.
When he asked his then-boss what the area was like when told of the opportunity to move here, Herron said the man said “it’s like living in a postcard,” and once he arrived he quickly agreed.
“I fell in love with the area, and I fell in love with the people,” Herron said.
“This seat belongs to the people,” Herron said. “I’m very tired. I need to close this chapter of my life. We all know when it’s time. ... It’s time for me to say ‘goodbye.’”
Herron asked that his last paycheck not be sent to him, but donated to the county instead — because the county needs the money more than he does.
“I love you guys,” Herron said. “Goodbye.”