Barry Barnett, a businessman from Omen, announced he would campaign to unseat Precinct 2 County Commissioner Cary Nix.
Nix announced he would seek a second term.
Barnett, 50, a Republican, owns ETJS LLC, an aviation management company, which oversees maintenance for a local charter company at Tyler Pounds Regional Airport. He said his focus would be on making good decisions for the county, which is growing.
He said the healthcare and education sector have Smith County poised for growth and that its county leaders’ responsibility to find creative ways to lower taxes without sacrificing county services.
Barnett said he would bring a new management philosophy to the court and be available to constituents.
“If there is a complaint it should be answered,” he said. “If it’s a phone call, people deserve a call back. If it is an email, email them back but if constituents have a question or need it should be answered.”
He said he wants to oversee the implementation of a fleet manager for the county vehicles. He said he believes costs for maintaining county vehicles may exceed what it could spend to purchase or lease vehicles. He said the count could also save thousands of dollars each year by looking at different fuel purchasing options.
Barnett said he would like to see a business plan implemented that would make the county run more efficiently. He promised to look at the county benefit and pay structure and would try to implement a “merit-based, rather than longevity based” salary plan if needed.
Barnett is a 16-year U.S. Air Force veteran, who served in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He also serves as a volunteer firefighter in Arp.
He said court members avoided their responsibility by requesting legislation be passed to make Emergency Services District board members elected positions. He said the court had selected a good board and that requiring elections will just cost taxing entities money that should go elsewhere.
Nix also announced he would seek reelection. The last day to file as a candidate for the March primaries is Dec. 9.