Carter won’t seek re-election

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Bragg Carter told fellow commissioners Monday that he won’t seek a fifth term as the county’s District 2 representative.

“I’d really like to stay one more term,” he said. “But four terms have been a good adventure and I’ve had a good time. I have really enjoyed serving the people and they’ve been good to me.”

Carter said he is dealing with a health issue and his wife and daughters didn’t want him to seek another term. Plus, with the county’s change from the district to the unit system this term, the job’s not as fun as it once was, he said.

In the district system, each commissioner was responsible for the roads and bridges in his district and personally supervised road department employees. Carter was known as one who spent a good deal of time personally operating his department’s heavy equipment.

In the unit system, to which the county moved shortly after the current administration took office, all road and bridge maintenance, as well as employees of that department, are supervised by the county engineer.

The change – the biggest Carter has seen in 15 years as a commissioner – is a good one for the long-term financial health of the county, he said. While it would be almost impossible to determine exactly how much has been saved, the unit system was a decision that had to be made, he said. The exact amount of savings is clouded by the influx of FEMA monies with which to make repairs for flooding, he said.

And if the county had not made the change, commissioners would have been forced to cut the hours of employees or to have had a reduction in force, he said.

The most difficult of his tenure, he said, has been dealing with the economics of the current times.

“We want to do a lot more than we can do,” he said. “But we are limited.”

Still, he’s pleased with the work the commission has done in support of economic development.

“We had a big part to do with the airport,” he said. “That’s been a major part to play in economic development.”

He also believes building an arena was the right thing to do.

“There are a lot of things I’d do differently,” he said. “But we still needed it.”

Carter said he hopes the person who replaces him as commissioner next year will have the county’s best interest at heart.

“I hope he’ll look for the betterment of the county and its citizens,” he said. “I also want him to have the best interest of our employees. They are a super group of people. Without them, the county would be in a world of hurt.”

Carter also expressed his personal appreciation for the opportunity to serve.

“I’d like to thank all of the people for their support and confidence in me,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed it and I’m going to miss it. But it’s time to go on.”

Qualifying for the 2012 county elections ends on Jan. 13. So far, three people have qualified to seek the Republican nomination for District 2, including Joe Barton, Randal McCart and Tony Wells.