SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KETK) – Smith County Commissioner Neal Franklin announced his candidacy for county judge on Friday.

This comes just a day after current Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran announced that he is running for Congress to potentially fill Louie Gohmert’s seat.

Franklin was elected to the Commissioners Court in November 2020, and currently serves Precinct 1.

According to a press release, Franklin has over 30 years of leadership experience in the fire and EMS fields. He has served as Tyler Fire Chief and Emergency Management Coordinator for more than seven years. As General Manager of East Texas Medical Center EMS, Franklin oversaw all or part of 15 counties in East Texas; managing more than 500 employees.

“A native of Tyler, Commissioner Franklin has a passion to serve and improve the lives of the citizens and employees of Smith County,” a press release said. “He believes Smith County is in a great position due to conservative fiscal policies and a focus on fostering relationships and will keep these as his priorities as County Judge.”

Franklin is a native Tylerite who attended Tyler ISD schools and graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University. Franklin and his wife Valli have three adult children and two grandchildren. They live in Bullard and attend Emerald Bay Community Church.

The press release gave a history of Franklin’s community service as follows:

  • Texas Fire Chief’s Association Board of Directors
  • Better Business Bureau Board of Directors
  • BCFS- Baptist Child and Family Services Board of Directors
  • Tyler Junior College/Emergency Medical Service Professions Advisory Board of Directors- Chair
  • Smith County BHLT/Behavioral Health Leadership Team- Co-Chair, Stakeholder
  • Leadership Tyler Marketing Committee
  • The Children’s Park of Tyler Board of Directors
  • Alzheimer’s Alliance of Smith County Board of Directors