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Two face off for county commission post

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By Tony Farkas
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Two people have thrown their hats in the ring for the Precinct 3 spot on the County Commissioners Court.

Political newcomer Lee McBunch is looking to unseat incumbent Neal Smith.

Lee McBunch

McBunch is self-employed, someone he said that will do whatever needs to be done and is not afraid to get his hands dirty.

He has lived in Trinity County off and on, this last time for more than a year, but his family is from Trinity County, and it always has been part of his life. In fact, his grandfather was a commissioner in the 1800s, and his family came here from Mississippi and Louisiana after the Civil War.

Family is one of the main reasons McBunch is running; he said he wants to maintain the Trinity quality of life for his son.

“When I was little, I would ride with my grandpa and talk with (former County Commissioner) Cecil Webb,” he said. “I told my grandpa that I wanted (Cecil’s) job. Since I moved back, I now have the opportunity to do that.”

McBunch said he would like to focus on budgets and county business, and of course, roads.

“Our roads are horrible,” he said. “We need to do something different. I’m on the roads all the time, and some are bad. I don’t get it. We need to maintain the roads better.”

He also said that he wants to help communities have their needs answered, not just do what politicians think is best. He plans to get out in the county and take advice from residents to use that when making decisions for the precinct.

“I’m just someone that wants to get the job done and done right,” McBunch said. “I’m not a politician by any means; but I do know it is important to get out and vote, because it means something.”

Neal Smith

Smith is living out his lifelong dream to be commissioner for Precinct 3, and is in his third term running for a fourth.

“I love Trinity County; I was born here, raised here, and I will be here till the Lord calls me home,” he said. “I’ve been a public servant since I was 26 years old, and as long as my health holds up, I want to do this job.”

Regarding his position, Smith said he believes roads are only about 10 percent of the job of a commissioner; the other 90 percent is at the courthouse saving the county money and being good stewards of taxpayer dollars.

“My goal is to continue to provide the best service we can but stay within budget,” he said. “I don’t want this county to be borrowing money to pay the bills like it was when I got here in 2013. My goal is to keep it out of the red.”

Some of the issues the county faces, other than roads, is drainage, which Smith said is countywide.

“My goal is to work every hour I can on drainage, digging ditches, cleaning out areas and getting water off the roads,” he said. “We all have problems with the roads, but I think drainage is where my precinct needs my attention.”

Smith said that since funds are now available, he plans to get to work on a fire station for the Friday volunteer department, but a goal he has had since he was first elected was to have a nice community center out at the Y.

“We’re going to build one up there we can be proud of,” he said. “It’s a shame we have to borrow a church or something to have any event in Groveton. We need a nice center. We have the land and it’s a good place to build it. Other commissioners have expressed interest as well, so I think it’s a good project.”

Smith said that he loves being a commissioner, and that his door is always open so he can continue to do the best job he can.

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