Longtime Whitesburg attorney Gene Smallwood Jr. will be sworn into office February 9 as a judge in the Kentucky Court of Appeals after being appointed by the governor to the seat left vacant by the resignation of Judge Janet Stumbo.
Smallwood was one of three people nominated by a judicial nominating commission to replace Stumbo, who resigned in October after 26 years on the bench. Her resignation was effective December 31.
Gov. Matt Bevin appointed Smallwood last week.
He and five other candidates are running in the May primary for the post. The top two vote getters will run against each other in November. Smallwood’s appointment runs until the results of the November election are final, at which time the winner of the election will take the office until the end of Stumbo’s unexpired term.
Smallwood said Monday that he will take the oath of office publicly in Whitesburg in February. An investiture ceremony will be held in Frankfort at a date still be determined.
“It’s exciting,” said Smallwood, who has never held public office before. “An opportunity to serve all the people in the commonwealth is a big responsibility, and one I’m eager to have.”
Smallwood received his law degree from the University of Kentucky College of Law, and has been in private practice focusing on civil litigation for 40 years.
He has served as an assistant commonwealth’s attorney for Letcher County since 2016.