ROGERSVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) – It’s been a long road for Rogersville Mayor Jim Sells. He started his journey in local government in 1971 as an alderman. Soon after, he ran for mayor in 1977 and won his bid.

It’s a position he’s held for 46 years so far, but he said this will be his last term. He’ll step down when the new cycle begins in 2025.

“I always said if I get to the point where the people didn’t want me, then I was ready to go,” Sells said. “Evidently and hopefully I’ve done that. I’ve tried to listen to everybody and do what was best for them and the town.”

While the people may or may not be ready for Mayor Sells to step down, he is. Sells told News Channel 11 it’s been a long run, but a good one.

He said he owes his success throughout the years to the people surrounding him.

“I’ve been fortunate, I’ve had really great boards,” Sells said. “A lot of other small towns don’t have that, but I have been fortunate, very lucky.”

He said he ran back in the 1970s looking for a change, and change is something he’s been working on throughout the town for nearly five decades now. “There were certain things that I saw, and I thought that we needed in town, and I got lucky and got elected and here I am,” said Sells.

As he prepares to leave office when his term ends in 2025, he hopes whoever follows in his footsteps takes his advice.

“Try not to jump at something too quick,” he said. “Research it and find out what’s great for the city and what’s great for everybody and go from there.”

He said it was about making the town better for the people when he ran. It’s the people, he said, that were his favorite part of the job in the small town of nearly 5,000 residents. Even though he plans to end his long run in the coming years, he vows he’ll still be around in some capacity or another.