Exit interview: Jeff Warr looks back on time as Smith County commissioner

Warr most proud of jail expansion, roads project

Jeff Warr Exit Interview

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - For more than a decade, Jeff Warr has represented Precinct 1 on the Smith County Commissioners Court.

Warr attended his last court meeting as a commissioner on Tuesday morning, although his retirement isn’t effective until Dec. 31, 2020.

“I tell people (moving to Smith County) was really one of the greatest things that happened in my life,” Warr said in an interview with KLTV.

Warr is a native East Texan who grew up in Nacogdoches and came to Tyler in 1983.

“I was having some academic issues and my dad thought it was more important for me to get to work and quit playing in school,” Warr said. “And so I said, well, I’ve been in Nacogdoches, San Augustine, and Center all my life, so let me go towards Tyler, and it worked out really well.”

More than 10 years after moving to Tyler, Warr won a seat on the Tyler City Council and would eventually serve as mayor pro-tem.

After a break from political office, Warr felt a desire to serve on the commissioners court and represent the fastest-growing area in the county. Precinct 1 includes southwest Tyler, Bullard, Flint-Gresham, Noonday, and parts of Lake Palestine.

Warr talks with a KLTV reporter in July 2010.
Warr talks with a KLTV reporter in July 2010. (Source: File photo)

Among his first accomplishments on the court: the expansion of the downtown jail.

“There’s a real problem in our existing facility as far as safety,” Warr said in a 2012 interview.

“Luckily, it came in on time and within budget and it has served the community for over 10 years,” Warr said on Tuesday. “And it’s virtually paid for now.”

Another success for Warr: the county’s long-term road plan.

“Every road in Smith County will be upgraded and done in a very reasonable priced manner within 8 years and that’s a pretty big undertaking when you’ve got, I think, 1,100 or 1,200 miles of road,” he said.

And while the court had its share of success, there was also turmoil, most notably the arrest and resignation of former Smith County Judge Joel Baker.

“In any group, over 12 years, you’re going have ups and downs, but I really feel the commissioners court is in a good place right now,” Warr said.

As for what’s next, Warr says he has no plans to run for office, but it can’t be ruled out completely.

“I tell people I’m like Forrest Gump,” he said with a smile. “I’ve been blessed my whole life. Good things happened to me and sometimes spite myself and it’s been an honor to serve my community. It really has.”

Warr, a business owner, has been married to Sabrina for more than 30 years. They have one son, who graduated from Texas A&M University, and are active members of Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler.

Former Tyler Fire Chief Neal Franklin was elected to serve as the next Pct. 1 commissioner.

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