Smith to run again

Published 9:58 pm Tuesday, January 3, 2012

As the deadline to qualify for the 2012 county elections approaches on Jan. 13, races for offices across Escambia County are becoming more defined with more candidates beginning to emerge.

The latest to publicly announce candidacy is District 4 County Commissioner Brandon Smith. Smith ran as a Democrat in 2008 but switched to the Republican party last year.


Smith, who is currently serving in his first term on the commission, said he is proud of the work that has been accomplished in the last three years, but looks forward to a chance to serve again and accomplish even more goals.

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“It has been an honor serving for the past three years,” Smith said. “And I look forward to continuing to serve if the people put me back there.”

Smith said while he believes the commission has done a great deal to improve Escambia County in recent years, he knows there is still work to be done.

“I’ve been able to get some things done that I’ve wanted to get done, but there is still some things I’d like to see improved,” Smith said.
Smith said one of the important aspects of continuing improvement in Escambia County will be maintaining programs and infrastructure already in place.

“One of the things we’ve been able to do is we got our herbicide program started,” he said. “It helps in maintaining right-of-ways on our roads.  We used a three year spray that keeps roadways clean.”

Smith said something as simple as cleaning roadways more efficiently can add up to big savings for the county.

“We started the program about two years ago and we were able to buy our own truck so now we can maintain our roadways year around,” he said.  “There are a couple of roadways we haven’t had a bush hog on in two years. When you start looking at the equipment charges and man-hours used, I think it will end up saving our county a lot of money.”

Smith said that money saved has been helpful during the tough economic times his first term saw, but added one of the achievements he is most proud of is managing to operate without cutting jobs.

“One of the things I’m very proud of is we didn’t have the first layoff,” Smith said. “We’re very conservative with the way we spend, and we know there are a lot of things out there that need to get done, but in tough economic times you have to tighten your belt and the last thing you want to cut is a person’s job.”

Smith also pointed to major road work and managing to maintain a Veterans Administration presence in west Escambia County as victories over the last three years.

“With the economy being so rough a lot of VAs have been consolidating,” he said. “We lost the one in Brewton, but we were able to keep our VA office open on this end of the county.”

As for road improvement Smith said repairing bridges damaged in the 2009 flood and recent improvements to Booneville Road were important goals he was pleased to see completed.

“The flood was a major problem for us,” he said. “We had over $5 million in damage and most of it was on this end of the county. It took a while to get FEMA funds in line, but after all of it was said and done we made a lot of improvement to a lot of areas at no cost to the taxpayers. It didn’t cost them one cent.”

Smith said the latest roadwork in Booneville, including a new bridge, is coming along on close to its original schedule.

“We had a couple of days we got behind because of rain, but he bridge crew is all but done, and now it’s up to us to come in and do the approach work,” he said. “The Boonville road and bridge is 1.2 million dollar project in the community, and that’s something I’m very proud of.”

After accomplishing several goals in last three years, and a plan to accomplish even more in the future, Smith said he would like to recognize the hard work the commission has done to make the improvements possible.

“I didn’t do any of these projects by myself,” he said. “It was with the help of the commission.”

As the elections in August approach Smith said he is not aware of other candidates officially running for his seat, but added public service is something that takes a 100 percent effort, but is always rich in rewards.

“When you go into office, you have all of these ideas and these plans, and a lot of time you can only do some,” he said. “But if you love it and you like serving people it’s okay.”

Smith said as 2012 unfolds he wants to let people know they can come to him with any questions they have about his campaign or current with the commission.

“I’m always accessible to everybody,” he said. “I don’t ever mind phone calls or people coming by to see me.”

Smith can be reached at Atmore Auto Parts at (251) 368-2148 or at home at (251)368-5985.