SMITH COUNTY — Grassroots America - We the People endorsed Larry Smith for Smith County Sheriff on Friday.
Here is the information provided to FOX 51 by Grassroots:
Today, Grassroots America’s Executive Director JoAnn Fleming announced the organization’s first endorsement of the 2012 primary season – Larry Smith for Smith County Sheriff.
Fleming stated, “The Grassroots America Board sets a very high standard for granting endorsements. Endorsement of a candidate is a serious matter. We do not make endorsements in order to participate in a popularity contest. We don’t make endorsements based on appeasing interested groups. We take the political process very seriously and thoroughly vet the candidates by checking into their stated qualifications, credentials, training, experience, and records. We hold candidate forums and debates, attend forums held by other organizations, review candidate web sites, questionnaires, Face Book and Twitter postings. We seek to determine the character, core values, temperament, judgment, management style, and practical vision of the candidates. In many cases, we hold candidate interviews in order to get to know the candidates much better than a thirty- or sixty-second sound bite will allow. If allegations arise about a candidate, we dig deep to get to the bottom of the claims before we make a decision.”
A three-fourths majority vote (7 of 9 board members) in support of a candidate is required for an endorsement. Grassroots America is pleased to announce that by a unanimous vote of its Board of Directors, Larry Smith has received the organization’s endorsement.
The Grassroots America Board of Directors was particularly impressed with the way Smith conducted himself in forums and how he held up under tough questioning by the Board. Instead of taking jabs at the other candidates, Smith consistently spoke about his 34 years of intense law enforcement experience and how he relates his “in the trenches” experience to a sound vision for being the chief law enforcement officer for Smith County. His demeanor under fire was most impressive and convinced us that Larry Smith possesses the temperament and the core values necessary to lead with integrity and to execute his responsibilities in a judicious and wise manner.
Smith understands that to run a law enforcement agency successfully, he must provide consistent leadership and high standards, the right tools, and the right training for his people. The fact that he has “walked in the shoes of the men and women” we depend upon for safety, security, and justice convinced us he understands how to lead a group of public servants who willingly put their lives on the line every day.
Smith’s education, credentials, training record, and commendations are impressive. The fact that Smith requested a transfer from the division of federal law enforcement (ATF) dealing with weapons to the division dealing with arson and explosives after the Brady Bill passed helped us understand his belief system as it relates to the United States Constitution and the Second Amendment. We believe Larry Smith’s Pledge to the Citizens of Smith County demonstrates his ready knowledge and core beliefs regarding the Supreme Court’s overturning of the Brady Bill and Justice Antonin Scalia’s opinion as expressed in Mack v. U.S., June 27, 1997. We are certain Larry Smith understands the constitutional role of a county sheriff and how he may be called upon to make tough local decisions about federal government overreach regarding individual liberties. We are convinced Larry Smith will always be on the side of Liberty.
Supportive testimony from retired law enforcement veterans who have worked with Larry Smith under intense and stressful conditions was important to the Grassroots Board. They earnestly vouched for Smith’s strong work ethic, expertise, and character.
Smith’s knowledge regarding the Commissioners Court’s Roadmap Business Plan and how it relates to his own written plan for good stewardship of tax dollars was impressive. Smith has many well thought-out ideas for stretching tax dollars and for improving efficiency in the sheriff’s department and jail. His plan stresses safety for officers and reward for excellence. Smith’s plan also expresses a commonsense way to get more patrol out in the county for improved response time to calls and improved follow-up on all crimes with victims and families. This is where Smith’s extensive knowledge of crime scene analysis and evidence preservation shows through. His practical, in-depth experience will be invaluable in building the right team assigned to the right job in his administration. Because Smith understands what it takes to get the job done, get it done right, and work as a team, we believe he will make a strong, principled, decisive, and accountable sheriff for Smith County.
Finally, Smith’s genuine concern about building strong relationships to support other local law enforcement was notable and will be good for this community. Smith understands the role of the media as it applies to the “people’s right to know,” and he seems ready to bring a transparent, innovative, cooperative, can-do spirit to the office of Sheriff. We highly recommend Larry Smith for Smith County Sheriff.
Note: The Grassroots Board of Directors has thoroughly investigated serious written and spoken allegations made against Larry Smith by another candidate in the race. After many hours of research, questioning people related to the allegations, and reading news and court accounts of cases on which Smith has worked, we found all allegations against Larry Smith to be false and baseless.