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Candidate Profile: Wichita County Tax Collector
As we begin the final week of early voting, a look at candidates on the ballot of one of the few contested Wichita County races.
The office of Tax Assessor / Collector is one of two constitutionally mandated county-wide elected positions in the State of Texas.
The office provides services for property tax collections, beer and wine permits, motor vehicle registration and titling functions.
For the first time since winning election in 1996, democratic incumbent Lou Murdock is facing a challenger.
Tommy Smyth is running on the republican ticket. Murdock has served as Tax Collector of Wichita County for the last 16 years and says she already has the required education needed to hold the office.
"The biggest challenges are keeping up with the day to day changes. The laws don't change but the interpretation of the laws by the people in Austin change. Sometimes they change overnight. So we have to be alert and aware and try to keep up to speed with every little change," she says.
Prior to her elected service, she worked for 9 years behind the counter in the motor vehicle department and says her goal is to always do better things in a better way for the citizens of WichitaCounty.
Murdock says, "I have a good working relationship with people in other agencies that affect things we do. That makes a difference because I can help people through the other agencies if necessary."
Her opponent Tommy Smyth is a Criminal Intelligence Officer with the Wichita Falls Police Department, and has worked as a public servant for the last 2 decades. Smyth says customer service would be his first priority if elected.
He says he'd like to shift a position and add a help desk for customers to make their visit to the office as efficient as possible.
He says, "We offer a fresh perspective and approach we offer a great deal of sincerity on what we want to offer and good customer service."
Smyth previously ran for Wichita County Sheriff as a democrat, but this time around he switched to the Republican Party.
Smyth says, "I think it's a great opportunity for anyone in the Democratic Party, even if you're a long term democrat to re-evaluate where we are at this juncture in politics in the state of Texas."