A most significant fact of which I have been made aware is Larry Smith's decision in 1997 to request re-assignment from his position with the Department of Justice ATF Firearms Division to the ATF Arson Division. Larry took this action upon the enactment of the Brady Bill. His belief in the right of the citizenry to bear arms would not allow him to be in a position to confiscate guns in order to enforce a law which is in conflict with the Bill of Rights. Larry's experience as a federal law enforcement officer and his choice to uphold the Constitution in all scenarios shows that he will not yield to favoritism at federal, state or local levels.
This is a race that must be decided by reality-based standards. Only one candidate has lead teams that have investigated and brought to successful conviction hundreds of cases of murder, rape, arson and burglary. The job description of sheriff requires that experience in the field. We must not yield to the temptation to cast a vote based on friendship, name recognition or a created image.
Only one candidate received a unanimous endorsement by Grass Roots America after in-depth interviews with all candidates. I urge the voters to investigate the questions and responses of those interviews.
We live in perilous times, with freedoms we hold dear, at stake. It is imperative that those, who are sincere of heart, look at what truly qualifies Larry: 34 years of leadership living and working in East Texas, the belief system upon which he has lived his life, and his experience in the field … Larry Smith is a man of sound moral character and even-temperament … may be we emboldened for his election as sheriff of Smith County.
Bill and Nancy Blomdahl
SHERIFF ENDORSES GARMON
Topping that community service list is Smith County Chief Deputy Bobby Garmon. Bobby and I have worked together for 32 years, he's undoubtedly the most positive person I've ever met, never a negative word about people who've abused him or criticized our agency. Many years ago I asked my staff to become more involved in the community. Bobby took that request to the highest level. He became Tyler Jaycees president and was recognized statewide for his leadership.
He has served or is serving on the board for United Way, Salvation Army, Red Cross, Azleway, CASA, East Texas Fair and has been president of East Texas Peace Officers Assoc., and Chief Deputies Assoc. He has assisted the Junior League with Mistletoe & Magic for over 20 years and the list goes on.
With all these commitments he never missed a school function with his children or devotion to his church.
His family life is an example to all men to admire and emulate. I have lead the Smith County Sheriff's Office through changes, technology and expansion and have been successful because of the employee's shoulders I have stood on. Bobby Garmon is at the top of the shoulder list and I am proud to support him as our next sheriff.
Sheriff J.B. Smith
The operations of our often overcrowded jail have been a constant challenge. I have seen Bobby work for Sheriff Smith in dealing with the federal mandates and limited budgetary assets. It has amazed me that he is always able to effectively manage the jail and sheriff's office while being extremely conservative with taxpayers' money.
Bobby is bright, experienced and knows how to lead others. He has a get it done attitude and the courage to stand up for what is right.
Bobby always took time to volunteer in our community, work long hours for the sheriff and yet find time to coach his sons and other children in little league baseball and basketball. His children are successful and fine young men who respect their parents and the laws.
Bobby is a man of strong Christian faith and he carries his faith into all aspects of his life. In other words, he is a good man, a courageous officer of the law and the right person to be our next sheriff.
Cynthia Stevens Kent
SCHAEFER THE BEST CHOICE
Matt Schaefer has an indomitable spirit, positive attitude, and good sense of humor. He will be a competent representative who will hold fast to principles and goals while organizing support in the legislature for laws that we want enacted. A man of integrity, he keeps his word.
Leo Berman gained office by giving his word that he would serve no more than eight years. His word was no good, and, while his prolonged tenure in Austin must have been beneficial to him, it has done little for local taxpayers. Check his record for yourself.
The choice is between a 76-year-old man with a lackluster record and a qualified, energetic young man who has exceptional problem-solving ability and grasp of voter concerns. Matt showed confidence in citizens by relying on the contributions, goodwill and common sense of individual voters to sustain his campaign. To know Matt is to support him.
Let Leo Retire.
Rita Bryant Turner
I strongly urge you to get out and vote for Larry Smith for Smith County sheriff. He truly is the only choice that makes any sense.
Not only is Larry dedicated to his job, but also has such love and devotion to his family. I am proud to call him my friend. Larry has proven through his debates that his credentials and work ethic are second to none. He is a man of strong moral character, has never met a stranger, and would give the shirt off his back to someone in need. Clearly Larry Smith is the best choice to become Smith County sheriff.
VOTE FOR BERMAN
During this time I have engaged him in several deep conversations about his convictions regarding things that really matter to him. I find him a man of integrity and principle who possesses a deep faith in God who will vote his moral convictions. I consider myself fortunate to count him as a friend and he has my full support to continue to represent our area.
Ken Wheeler Sr.
Bobby Garmon has 30-plus years of experience and is a leader in the sheriff's office. Bobby is qualified for the job.
Chris Green, a game warden for 20-plus years, has no managerial experience and no past experience in any other form of law enforcement. There is a big difference between a game warden and working for the sheriff's office, DPS or police department. In my opinion, Chris lacks both leadership skills and law enforcement experience, and Donn Rust has no qualifications for the job.
Larry Smith has 30-plus years of law enforcement experience including 13 years of managerial experience. Larry has been a captain in the Gregg County sheriff's office, worked as a criminal investigator for the DEA and the ATF and is considered an expert in his field. Larry is obviously more than qualified for the job.
Having reviewed the applicants, two are qualified but one stands out above the other and that is Larry Smith. Larry brings the experience and knowledge to greatly improve the department both short and long term. Smith County should be honored to have a man with qualifications and character of Larry as our next sheriff.
The citizens' first resort is the professional peace officer, the protector of safety from criminals. As the first level of justice, the professional peace officer apprehends the guilty, clears the innocent, and is the most important link in the chain of freedom from tyranny.
The professional peace officer does not judge; does not arrest without sufficient cause; does not succumb to the demands of the mob, but demands “proof” and finds it. Such an officer is a bastion of freedom and safety in a free society.
Larry Smith is an absolutely professional peace officer. He has investigated and solved crimes all over the world. He was a key investigator after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York and investigated war crimes in Bosnia during the Balkan wars. Without his training and expertise, it is very likely that the church arsonists would still be at large burning our houses of worship. He was one of the peace officers who solved these crimes, putting the arsonists behind bars for years.
As one who has defended cases Larry Smith brought against some of my clients, I can assure you that he is a thorough professional with a “world-class” forensic education.
I support Larry Smith for sheriff because I know the safety of my family, the safety of the public and the rights of our citizens will be protected by his education, experience, and professionalism.
Bobby D. Mims
He's an awesome husband and dad and has continued to put his family first throughout his career and this campaign. Even when people attack his character, he still does the right thing.
I've known Chris for years and have always been proud to call him a friend. The people who know Chris know that he's steady and has always been solid as a rock. What you see is what you get and with Chris.
I feel that the most qualified man that has ever run for sheriff of Smith County is Larry Smith. Larry has the integrity, experience, training and education that can run a department that will protect the public. This type of leadership is badly needed in Smith County.
Larry and I met many years ago when he was working at the Gregg County Sheriff's Office in Longview where he was captain of the criminal investigations division. I know Larry Smith's character, integrity and leadership qualities.
Over the past year and a half, my wife Sandra and I have gotten to know Larry and his family very well. Larry is a Christian family man with moral values that are beyond reproach. Larry has walked in the shoes of the men and women in law enforcement that are willing to put their lives on the line each and every day. His dedication is never ending and his tenacity is phenomenal. Larry has an outstanding relationship with law enforcement officers at the local, state and federal level and has always promoted team work.
I fully support Larry Smith and he is the right man to lead the Smith County Sheriff's Office into the 21st Century.
E-mail, Facebook and Twitter spread untruths like wildfire. Too many folks don't follow the Commandment, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against a neighbor.” A whisper campaign begins; few people demand evidence to back up the claims. In a keystroke, a good man's reputation and credentials can be destroyed.
Making repeated allegations against Larry Smith, Chris Green has attacked Smith's character, his church life, and his professional credentials.
In candidate forums, Green alleged Smith “spent his career taking firearms away from people.” When asked to provide evidence, Green had none. Instead, he tries to paint a picture of Larry Smith as a rogue federal agent. We could find no evidence to back up that claim and believe it irresponsible to portray all federal law enforcement officers as threats. Federal agents like Larry Smith investigated the church arson cases, the casino bus hijacking, and the 9/11 attacks.
Green charges Smith with deception regarding his role in local high profile cases. In every instance, Larry Smith was able to produce official courtroom or law enforcement documents, which proved Green's allegations to be false.
In a list of allegations about Smith, Green wrote, “When Larry knew he was running for Sheriff, he started going to Green Acres Church and sitting in the front row!” Larry Smith and his family have attended Green Acres Baptist Church since 1989. Where he sits in the sanctuary has everything to do with his church responsibility.
We do not believe Green's actions display the proper conduct and temperament for a man asking us to elect him chief law enforcement officer of Smith County.
Grassroots America-We The People
Another factor I believe attributed to Larry's success was his ability to work with other agencies. Whether it was a theft, burglary, or murder, Larry worked with any agency to make an arrest and successfully prosecute the offender.
After I was promoted to game warden captain in Dallas, I was able to observe Larry in his ATF explosives and fire investigations enforcement and training (I have since retired). He is an outstanding law enforcement officer.
Having known Larry for over 35 years, I sincerely feel that Larry is an outstanding candidate for sheriff. Larry will bring exceptional leadership and positive change to the Smith County Sheriff's Department. Having family and friends in Smith County, I encourage the voters to vote for Larry Smith for sheriff of Smith County.
Garry K. Collins
Political action committees for well-respected organizations such as Texas Right to Life, Alliance for Life, Conservative Republicans of Texas, Texas Association of Business (recognized Leo as one of its few Champions for Free Enterprise), NRA, Texas State Rifle Association, Texas Home School Coalition, and Texans for Lawsuit Reform have all endorsed Mr. Berman. Leo's military record is to be admired.
Leo's opponent has never held an elected office. He can make claims about what he would do if elected, but there is no record to back up his statements. I am supporting a proven conservative — Leo Berman.
W.R. Hughey II
He's the perfect man of integrity to give Smith County a fresh start.
FROM HUMBLE BEGINNINGS
Bobby Garmon is the real thing, not a slick politician. Bobby has worked his way up from the lowest ranks of the sheriff's department to becoming chief deputy. As chief deputy, he has successfully managed all areas of the sheriff's office, including writing budgets and working with the Commissioners Court in order to maximize effectiveness while keeping costs to taxpayers as low as possible. In fact, Bobby was able to return money from the sheriff's budget back to Smith County.
I have personally known Bobby Garmon for over a decade, and he is by far the most qualified man for the job of Sheriff. He is a great father and grandfather, is involved in the community, and has three decades of law enforcement experience locally. Smith County needs a sheriff like Chief Deputy Bobby Garmon.
William H. Lively Jr.
Some candidates have criticized Sheriff Smith for not spending more of our tax dollars and putting more boots on the ground in patrol cars. Bobby has had his boots on the ground for 30-plus years and is an exceptionally good law enforcement professional. He can and has worked with Sheriff Smith to manage and organize the patrol division along with all the other areas of jail and sheriff's office operations.
We need the good work and management skills of Bobby Garmon. He has the experience, knowledge and budgeting skills to lead as our next sheriff. He's a family man, exceptionally humble and a proven leader. Smith County is a better and safer place to live because of Bobby Garmon and his team.