MUSCLE SHOALS — After being involved in the legal system for 20 years, and having worked in a variety of courts throughout north Alabama, Jeff Austin said he wants to use the experience he has to better serve the public.

“The only way I can improve things that frustrate me about the legal system is to run for judge,” Austin said. “So, that’s what I decided to do.”

Austin is running for the Colbert County Circuit Judge Place 2 seat, which is currently held by Hal Hughston Jr., who announced last year he was retiring after serving 20 years.

Austin, the Democratic nominee, faces Republican Kyle Brown, chief assistant Colbert County district attorney, in the Nov. 6 election.

“I have seen different things in various courtrooms across north Alabama, and I want to take what I have seen that works well and make the Colbert County court system better,” Austin said. “Not that it’s a bad system now, I just believe I can use my experience to improve it. Our goal in life should be to every day make an improvement on the day before.”

He said he wants to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the court system.

“Lawyers are losing their professionalism sometimes. I think clients can be better represented when lawyers maintain their professionalism, and they are more mindful of scheduling and everyone’s time at the courthouse,” Austin said.

Austin was raised in the LaGrange community, and graduated from Northwest-Shoals Community College and the University of North Alabama. He earned his law degree from Mississippi College.

He and his wife, Melinda, will be married 20 years November. They have lived in Ford City for 20 years.

“I am proud to be born and raised in Colbert County, and it would be an honor to serve my fellow citizens as circuit judge,” he said.

tom.smith@timesdaily.com or 256-740-5757. Twitter @TD_TomSmith.

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