BIG RAPIDS — The field of candidates hoping to replace retiring 49th Circuit Court Judge Ronald C. Nichols is starting to grow.

Big Rapids City Attorney Eric D. Williams announced his candidacy for the office of 49th Circuit Court Judge, serving Mecosta and Osceola counties, on Friday, March 28..

Non-incumbent judicial candidates are required to file nonpartisan nominating petitions containing the requisite number of valid signatures, an affidavit of identity and an affidavit of constitutional qualification no later than 4 p.m. on Tuesday, April 22.

Williams has yet to file his petition to run for Circuit Court judge with the state, but once that process is finished his name will be added alongside James Sims II, on the August primary ballot. More people have petitions out, but the names are not recorded until the petitions have been filed, said officials from Mecosta and Osceola clerks' offices.

Williams brings more than 30 years of experience of practicing law to the August primary ticket. He believes his experience, hard work, common sense approach and deep commitment to the justice system will adhere to the high standards his predecessor set.

"I have spent a long time practicing law and I enjoy it," Williams said. "I intend to start and finish court proceedings on time, while making certain each litigant receives a full and fair hearing with the judicial process his or her case requires. I want to make sure everyone feels their voice was heard."

Williams has spent 28 of the past 30 years working with municipalities including, Big Rapids, Morton Township and Morley, would miss his legal work should he be elected.

"It's good to see Eric run for judge," said Steve Sobers, Big Rapids city manager. "He has been a common sense legal influence on all city business. We would, however miss his legal expertise and advice should he be elected."

If elected, Williams believes his common sense approach and legal experience will be an asset.

"I would like to put my 30 years of experience to work in the courthouse for the people of our two counties," Williams said.