Donald Sanders, former city councilman for District 2, will challenge incumbent Precinct 4 County Commissioner JoAnn Hampton in the 2014 Democratic primary.
Sanders, 61, served as city councilman from 2006 to 2012 and as Mayor Pro Tem in 2008 and 2009.
Sanders said he has a proven record of working to improve Tyler residents’ quality of life. He said top focuses will be improving rural roads and infrastructure and bringing commercial growth and industry to Smith County.
“It takes all the members of the court, the people and the business community,” he said. “I think my experience would be valuable to Smith County and constituents in Precinct 4.”
He said he was instrumental in improving blighted areas of the city and providing new affordable homes and free homes for residents via a federal home program. He also assisted Tyler Winner’s Circle relocate and continue their programs, he said.
Sanders said he worked with the city council and staff to install pedestrian crossings and medians along the Gentry Parkway corridor.
He also voted to implement the city’s Pro-Code Enforcement Program; the annexation of the Cascades, Briarwood Estates and locations along Old Jacksonville and supported revitalization efforts along north Broadway Avenue included in the Tyler 21 Plan.
Sanders hosted numerous town-hallmeetings to stay informed of resident needs and concerns, he said.
“Any successful commissioner keeps constituents involved and informed and I think I did that on the city council,” he said.
He was the first vice president of the Tyler/Smith County NAACP; past president of the Butler College Community Service Organization and past vice president of the St. Louis Community Improvement Association and an active member of the Smith Temple Church of God in Christ.
Sanders graduated from Robert E. Lee High School in 1971, attended Tyler Junior College and retired from Kelly Springfield Tire Plant after 33 years. He has been married to his wife, Sally, for 41 years and has three children and two grandchildren.
“I’ve lived in the precinct all my life,” he said. “I am familiar with the area and the problems and concerns.”