I want to thank the Marshall News Messenger for organizing the recent Candidate Forum. Robin did well moderating the event and it did allow the voters to get to know the candidates.

In regards to the Republican County Chair race, Mr. Ed Smith twisted the facts and created false perceptions when he spoke. Mr. Smith said that his primary goal was to bring transparency back to the party and to grow the party. But the truth is that transparency has never left our county party. Mr. Lee Lester has done an outstanding job of transparency on all party matters. Mr. Smith has not attended our recent county conventions and only recently attended a small handful of monthly meetings. He simply does not possess the facts and is communicating untrue information to voters.

When Mr. Lester was elected to the position of County Chair, there were approximately 15 active precinct chairpersons in the party, and today there are 20. Mr. Lester has grown the active participation of the party by more than 30 percent in just over two years! Additionally, there is a Republican running in every race in Harrison County for the first time in years, maybe history. Harrison County has never been more Republican thanks to Lee Lester’s leadership.

Mr. Smith disagreed with the censure of elected officials, saying that past censures were “personal vendettas.” As the Precinct Chair of precinct 13, I am offended at Mr. Smith’s implication. The reasons for the censure of Rep. Paddie and Gov. Abbott were detailed in the censures and published publicly. The censure process requires that a careful, specific process be followed. Rule 44 and the facts are clear, the censure of Rep. Paddie far exceeded justification. It was a near unanimous decision of the precinct chairs, not a personal one by Mr. Lester. The censures are based on facts. They acknowledge the desires of a super majority of Harrison County voters. Mr. Smith appears to not be able to separate personal feelings from facts and to not support the will of Republican voters.

Mr. Smith does not seem to support the 2nd Amendment, nor true conservative Republican values, or he would not have criticized those who exercised their 2nd Amendment rights. Of course, Mr. Smith has a history of being anti-hunting when he proposed banning the use of archery within city limits. Again, not something a true conservative would have done.

Mr. Lester has been a fully engaged active leader in the Republican Party for many years. Lee is an actual conservative Republican, consistent with party values. The party has grown and flourished with his leadership.

Jeff Kroyer, Longview Resident

Reporter/Deputy Editor

I am a lifelong East Texas resident with a passion for reporting local news. I recently graduated of the University of North Texas with a degree in journalism. In my spare time, I love to read, play drums and brew the best coffee I possibly can.