WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Two candidates are vying to be your next Washington County Judge.

The judge serves as the county chief executive. Republican Patrick Deakins and Democrat Josh Moody are running for the position. Deakins currently serves on the Quorum Court.

“I want to bring my time on the quorum court, my experience as a CPA and we are really invested in this having two small sons,” Deakins said.

Deakins said he wants to be proactive when it comes to challenges associated with county growth, such as water and solid waste infrastructure and supporting emergency services.

“I want to tackle planning and zoning,” Deakins said. “I think what we have right now in the county is kind of a broken system, I think its dissuading investment in our county from industry and business leaders,” Deakins said.

Josh Moody is a former teacher at the Washington County Juvenile Detention Center.

“I’m a teacher with a business background,” Moody said. “I’m running on purple to being red and blue together on common ground and compromise.”

Moody said he wants to be a supportive leader for all the county employees and create a safe working environment.

“I want to put people in the right positions to succeed,” Moody said.

He said he also wants to use his experience as a teacher to better the lives of community members.

“In that time I came to realize how difficult life can be for certain vulnerable kids, vulnerable families so I would like to improve their situation,” Moody said.

Moody and Deakins have differing opinions on the ballot questions aimed at expanding the county jail and juvenile detention center.

“There are many far cheaper options, more effective, more humane ways to respond to and reduce criminal behavior, implementing a mental health court, robust pre-trail services, establishing parity between public defender and prosecutor’s office,” Moody said.

“Many people say do we need programs, sentencing alternatives or do we need a bigger jail and the answer is we need both to be a real effective criminal justice system for our region and I want to continue to look at solutions from a regional standpoint,” Deakins said.