Written by Tom Sissom
FAYETTEVILLE -Mark Scalise, a local attorney, has announced he will run for Washington County judge. Scalise, 61, of Fayetteville is running as a Republican to replace Washington County Judge Joseph Wood. Wood announced in May he's a candidate for lieutenant governor.
The county judge's salary this year is $123,165. The Quorum Court approved raising the pay for all county elected officials to the maximum allowed by state law as part of the county's 2022 budget. Under state law, county judges and sheriffs in class 7 counties-Benton, Pulaski and Washington counties-have a maximum salary of 137,349.
Scalise ran unsuccessfully for Fayetteville District Court, District 2, Division 4 judge in 2020, losing to terra Stephenson in a runoff for the position.
Scalise is an attorney with a private practice in Fayetteville and also works as a business development executive for J.B. Hunt. He first moved to Fayetteville in 1989 and has lived in the city continuously for the past 20 years. He received his law degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law and has a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Grove City College in Pennsylvania.
Scalise is married to Jacqueline Post Scalise. They have three children.
Scalise said his aim is to bring his passion to serve the community to the office of county judge.
"Washington County deserves a judge who has experience, integrity, common sense, and vision for the future," he said. "An honest judge who is fiscally responsible and a good steward of the taxpayers dollars. A judge who is accessible and listens to what you have to say. Who puts the county first and leads by example."
Scalise said Washington County's rapid growth, with a population of 245,339 projected to grow to 500,000 in the next 25 years, means county government must maintain and upgrade the county's 1,100 miles of road and county bridges. He said he will work with local, regional and state governments and agencies to push for a "beltway" around the "big four" cities of Northwest Arkansas.
Scalise also said he will prioritize safety, including keeping pay for law enforcement up to market rates and expanding the county's detention center.
Scalise also said he will work to improve workforce training in the region, update the county's planning and development regulations and keep county government records and data secure.