Smith announces re-election bid

Published 8:29 pm Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Russell Smith has announced his intention to run for re-election to his seat on the Decatur County Board of Commissioners, District 5.

“I’ve been in public service most of my adult career,” said Smith, who was first elected to the board in 2008. “I enjoy getting the chance to help people with their problems.”

Smith currently serves as vice-chairman of the board, and is slated to become chairman next year, if he is re-elected. He is a retired Florida Prison Warden with more than 37 years of experience in law enforcement/corrections, including positions in management.

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“There’s no other commissioner on the board who has law-enforcement experience, that I know of,” Smith said. “I have had jobs where I have had to operate within a budget, and I feel like my experience there will help the county. I know about how important it is to make sure our law officers have the resources they need.”

Smith attended Faceville Elementary School and graduated from Attapulgus High School. He attended South Georgia College and earned an associate of science degree from that institution.
Smith said he loves living in Decatur County, and he wants to do his part to help the county “clean up its reputation.”

“Our reputation was severely impacted by a lot of the recent problems,” said Smith, alluding to the recent resignation of former County Administrator Tom Patton. “We’ve all rallied around [interim County Administrator] Col. Gary Breedlove. I couldn’t be more satisfied with the job that he’s doing.

“As commissioners, we need to step back and let him make the decisions, rather than trying to micro-manage.”

Smith has been married to Diann Smith for more than 25 years, has two children and four grandchildren. He and his wife are members of Sylvania Methodist Church. He is also a Vietnam War veteran.

Smith said the most important issue facing Decatur County is the economy.

“I feel the most important issue is jobs and economic development,” he said. “We need new industries to help take a lot of the tax-paying burden off our landowners.”