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Horn announces she will not seek re-election as Denton County judge

Denton County Judge Mary Horn announced Tuesday that she will not seek re-election in 2018.

Horn also endorsed Commissioner Andy Eads as the next county judge during the commissioners meeting. 

"The job is never done," she said. "It is somebody else's turn. ... There comes a time to move on."

Horn, 72, was appointed Denton County judge in 2002 shortly after winning the Republican primary, becoming the first woman to hold the post. She replaced Scott Armey, who resigned to take a federal job in Fort Worth. Running unopposed, Horn won the election that year and is currently in her fourth term, making her the longest-serving Denton County judge. She previously served as the Denton  County tax assessor-collector for nearly a decade.

In a news release that Horn read aloud in Tuesday's Commissioners Court meeting, the judge highlighted  her efforts to save tax dollars by consolidating the tax collection process. In 1999, Horn was nominated as Tax Assessor-Collector of the Year by the Texas Assessor-Collectors Association. She was also given a lifetime honorary membership to the association. 

When Horn took over as county judge, she prioritized improving public facilities and roads in the fast-growing county. She touts bringing more than $3 billion in road improvements during her tenure and seeing through the first phase of the Interstate 35E expansion project. 

She said she's also proud of helping expand county infrastructure, both upgrading existing buildings and designing new ones.  Right now, the county is designing a $37 million administration complex near the corner of South Loop 288 and Karina Street. It's one of several development projects that have been approved in recent years. 

"In the old public health department, we had three or four people working out of one cubicle," Horn said after the meeting. 

Horn has been married to former state Rep. Jim Horn for 50 years, the release said. Jim Horn was first elected in Denton County as Republican Party chairman in 1972 and went on to serve in the Texas House for 18 years. 

Wiping tears from her face, Mary Horn said she is proud of her record in office and the people she's served with. 

"I will have been in office for a total of 25 years," she said. "Really, I've accomplished what I hoped to accomplish." 

JULIAN GILL can be reached at 940-566-6882. 

FEATURED PHOTO: Denton County Judge Mary Horn speaks to guests during a ribbon-cutting ceremony last week in Highland Village to celebrate the completion of the 35Express project. Horn, who announced Tuesday she will not seek a fifth term as county judge next year, cited the $1.4 billion, 30-mile expansion of the Interstate 35E corridor between Denton and Dallas as one of the highlights of her tenure.