It’s an opportunity to bring new ideas, new styles of leadership and new priorities to that office.
The Tyler Paper endorses candidate Larry Smith, a former ATF and DEA agent, for the post. Of all the candidates, Smith seems to possess the professionalism and communication skills that will help him navigate the highly charged situations he’ll face with the best set of tools. He shows a maturity indicative of a seasoned veteran, along with a welcome humility and thoughtfulness that should serve him well in public office.
Smith, 54, has spent 34 years in law enforcement experience, beginning in the Gregg County Sheriff’s Office and later becoming a federal agent.
Former Game Warden Chris Green would also bring many things to the table. He’s familiar with the county and has built a broad network of supporters. But we remain concerned at his approach. His campaign slogan, “A Fresh Start,” may be what the county needs, but his pledge to make big changes telegraphs an overconfidence about what he may be able to truly accomplish.
Chief Deputy Bobby Garmon is a fine candidate; even more, he’s been an admirable role model for young men in Smith County for decades. His accomplishments and contributions to the community are too numerous to list.
But while his accomplishments are truly impressive, he’s too close to the current administration to be that breath of fresh air the county now needs. When asked what new ideas he might have gleaned from his opponents, Garmon reverts to defending the status quo.
Another factor that makes Smith a standout is his take on the possible upcoming wet/dry election in Smith County. Of the four candidates, he was the one to offer a non-political, simple yes-or-no response. He’s for it, he says, because it should reduce DWI incidents. The other candidates gave nuanced, less forthright positions.
After thorough evaluations, we recommend Larry Smith as the strongest candidate in the field.
State Representative, District 6
He has brought new ideas and a viable candidacy to the race, and should be considered by voters as a plausible alternative to Berman.
But should Berman be returned to office, we would like to see changes in his approach to the office. He has said he will serve only one or two more terms; if that’s so, we would like to see him finish well — wrap up his years of public service with grace and dignity.
That will mean less demagoguing of party issues and more paying attention to district issues. It will also mean a wiser approach to securing committee assignments that will benefit the district.
Smith County Commissioner, Pct. 3
Yet the fact that as an incumbent, he has drawn three challengers, should send a message to Phillips. He should probably take heed, listen to their criticisms with humility, and work at making himself an even better representative for Precinct 3.
We would add that challenger Jimmy Hawley, who has an impressive record in both business and community service, is a strong candidate. We would encourage him to seek other ways to offer his valuable services to the county; perhaps in another elected office, or still another venue.