Republican Nominee For Smith County Judge Disappointed With Jail Decision

Commissioners are putting two jail locations on the May ballot. One downtown. The other, at a remote site north of Tyler. But the Republican nominee for Smith County Judge says the Commissioner's Court took a cop-out.

Joel Baker said they should have picked the best option for Smith County, then let voters have an up or down vote.

"I was not surprised," Baker said.

The county commissioners decision about the jail may not have surprised Joel Baker, but it did disappoint him.

"They're elected as officials of this county to make decisions. They have the benefit of information that the general public does not have," Baker said.

He says the commissioners' decision is a complicated one voters may not be equipped to make.

"By saying that, I don't intend to criticize the citizens. They do not sit in court everyday. They do not have the benefit of all the studies that have been conducted. And they don't know the day-to-day operations of the courthouse."

Downtown is where Baker thinks the new jail should be built, but he's not sure the proposal on the ballot is the right one.

"Frankly, I hope the voters decide that both options on the ballot is a bad idea. That we need to re-group, and decide what is the best for Smith County."

Baker says what Smith County really needs is a master plan, which will help government run more efficiently.

Lindsay Wilcox/Reporting: