A Better East Texas: Smith County Commissioners

I have found most east Texans to be pretty forgiving. When someone makes a mistake, learns from it, and then changes their behavior we have a tendency to cut them some slack. And we should. It seems to me, and you may agree that most politicians won't even admit their mistakes, much less, learn from them.

But one group of politicians appears to be trying to change that perception. Last year the Smith county commissioners court was humbled when, after a series of bad decisions on their part, voters soundly rejected their plans for a new jail and courthouse. Well, it appears they've learned from that experience. Now as they form a new strategy they have committed to really listening to the constructive opposition they heard in the previous plan. And they have created a more open dialogue with community leaders and the public at large. In addition, all but one commissioner, Jo Ann Hampton, gave back the raise they gave themselves in 2007.

And, just two weeks ago, all the commissioners refused to accept their raise for 2008. I applaud Smith county judge Joel Baker and the entire commissioners court for learning from their experiences, making a positive change and putting what's best for us all first. It's efforts like this that make this a better east Texas.