Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley announced Tuesday that he will not seek a fifth term in office.
“I feel like I’ve been fortunate enough to serve the county for 26 years, it was time to turn it over and let somebody else take the reins," Whitley said.
He said he knew back in 2017 when he was running for reelection, that this would probably be his last term.
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In a statement Tuesday morning, Whitley said his decision came "after much deliberation" and it's time to "prepare for the next chapter of leadership in Tarrant County."
Fort Worth also elected five new city council members and Arlington elected Jim Ross as its new mayor.
During the commissioner's court on Tuesday, Whitley became emotional while he read his statement thanking the community and his family for the support over the years. When he finished, the entire room stood and applauded the long-time county judge.
“After much deliberation with fellow leaders, friends, and, most importantly, my family, I have decided that now is the time to prepare for the next chapter of leadership for Tarrant County," Whitley said in a news release. "It has been one of the greatest honors of my life to serve my County and to do so alongside my fellow Commissioners. I am proud of all that we have accomplished together to make Tarrant County among the most innovative and collaborative counties in the nation. I raised my family in Tarrant County, I started my business in Tarrant County, and I will continue to serve Tarrant County with all that I have for the remainder of my term and into my next chapter.”
Whitley has served as the Tarrant County Judge since 2007 and was previously a Tarrant County Commissioner starting in 1997.
Whitley was also the head of emergency management for the county and last year was tasked with navigating the COVID-19 pandemic.
“COVID was certainly something I knew was in the job description, I didn’t hope to ever dust it off and exercise it, but I have been very encouraged by the collaboration that we’ve had through the last year and a half," Whitley said, emphasizing a priority was to keep hospitals and businesses open.
He said he hoped whoever takes his spot next is ready to focus on the booming population.
Whitley started his family in Tarrant County 45 years ago. He earned an accounting degree from the University of Texas at Arlington and served in the U.S. Naval Reserve. Prior to serving in county leadership, Whitley was a business owner and co-founder of the accounting firm Whitley Penn.
He and his wife, Brenda, live in Hurst, where they are longtime members of First United Methodist Church Hurst. They have three children and nine grandchildren.
Whitely said his options are open for his next step.
“I’ve not ruled out anything except for I’m not running for county judge," he said.
The general election for Tarrant County Judge will be held on Nov. 8, 2022, with a primary to be held on March 1, 2022, pending redistricting.
Time will tell who will enter the race.
Whitley's announcement comes at a time when cities with the county are experiencing a lot of leadership change.
Out going Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, the longest serving mayor of Fort Worth, is preparing to transition power. Mattie Parker, Price’s former chief of staff, was elected mayor of Fort Worth over the weekend and will be sworn in on June 15.