BY JACLYN ROSE –
Born and raised on a farm in Board Camp, Arkansas, County Judge Brandon Ellison graduated from Mena High School in 1978. “Looking back it was great growing up in Polk County but I probably didn’t appreciate it enough at the time. It is a place that is sheltered from the world and safe and I believe I received a good education, vocational and otherwise,” said Ellison.
After graduation, Ellison moved to Wyoming where he worked as a rough neck on an oil field for three years until he had all the Wyoming winters he wanted and moved to the Dallas/Fort Worth area. “After one and a half years in Wyoming, I came home and married Linda Pate from Hatfield on June 2, 1979, almost 35 years ago. I think you really have to pick your partner right and then hope yours is as good natured as mine,” Ellison said with a grin. “She puts up with me and we are compatible and she is just good.”
In 1981, Ellison started a business in Dallas working with underground utilities: water, sewer, and storm drains all along knowing that he and Linda wanted to raise their children in Polk County. It would always be home. “In 1997, I had a five year plan. My daughter, Casey, was eight at the time and my son, Andrew, was two. We were going to buy a place in Polk County and move back and I would commute back to Dallas during the work week, where I would stay in the living quarters of my office. This went well but at the end of the five years, 9/11 happened and with the state of the economy it was impossible to find a buyer for my business, so I continued working. By the time it was done, I had commuted to Dallas for 11 years. In 2008, I sold my business,” Ellison explained.
After moving back to Polk County on a full-time basis, Ellison saw an opportunity to use his knowledge and expertise for the betterment of his hometown. “I have always been interested in politics and from a young age have been a little disgruntled with how things were being handled, on all levels. I had always complained but never did anything about it. I believed I would be good for the position of County Judge, especially with the road department. I had basically trained for 28 years for that job, so I stepped up and put my name out there.”
Up for re-election this cycle, Ellison is pleased with the progress of the past term, as well as, the ability of many of the local elected officers to work together for the good of Polk County. “I have enjoyed the challenge and seeing progress being made. In time, I know we can really make a difference,” Ellison said. “I came in at a good time. We had a new State Representative, a new Sheriff and a new Prosecuting Attorney and all of us are heading in the same direction. We have worked well together. I am looking forward to running again and making progress on the plan that was implemented when I was elected. I enjoy the job, although it is challenging and takes a lot of energy, I feel like I have the energy that is required.”
Ellison also spends a lot of time working with his brother, Steve, on his mother’s farm in Board Camp, the same farm Ellison was raised on. “My father passed away last year and I help my brother and mother on the farm. Hay season is coming up so I’ll be in the hay field quite a bit.” Ellison and his wife are also active members of First Baptist Church in Mena and they enjoy their granddaughter, Kili.
“The natural beauty of Polk County is awesome. In one word, it’s ‘home.’ The older you get the more that means to you. It is wholesome and safe and the kind of values people from Polk County have match mine. We couldn’t have made a better choice then to come back,” Ellison said.