Full Text: Joel Baker's Letter

Thank you for selecting me to serve on the newly formed Facilities Planning Committee.  However, I respectfully decline to serve as a committee member.

I have offered to assist the Commissioners Court in planning for the future of Smith County.  I will continue to offer my input to the Court or to the new committee if requested, but as the incoming County Judge I believe it would be inappropriate for me to serve as a member of the committee.  Furthermore, my current business and family obligations will not permit me to attend every scheduled meeting, and this committee deserves the full attention of its members.

During my campaign, I committed to being a full-time County Judge as I believe the business of this county deserves full-time attention, and when I am sworn in as County Judge I will fulfill that commitment.  However, I will not take office until January 1, 2007 unless the position is vacated.  In the event I am asked to serve before the end of the year, I would set aside my business obligations to assume the duties of County Judge.  Until that time, I must devote my attention to the clients that I serve and make the necessary preparations so that I can devote my time to the business of Smith County beginning in January.

I was not asked for my input concerning the makeup of this committee, nor was I asked or given an opportunity to give input regarding the process the Commissioners Court selected.  However, I wish the Court the best of luck in addressing this very important issue.


Joel Baker
The Baker Firm, P.L.L.C.
414 S. Broadway Ave.
Tyler, Texas 75702