Around this time next year, LaGrange County Sheriff Terry Martin will be looking at leaving the department after 30 years of law enforcement service to the community, but he doesn’t want his service to end there.
“I want to continue serving the county as a county commissioner,” Martin said this week in announcing that he plans to file as a candidate for the North District Commissioner seat.
Martin said he had been considering running for the past four years as he has served his second, and final, term as county sheriff.
At the top of Martin’s “to do list” as county commissioner is to make the position more accessible to the public. “I would like to have an open meeting one night a month to have the public come in and talk face to face with me,” Martin said. “I’ve always had an open door policy and I want to make myself accessible as a commissioner, too.”
He sees the open evening meetings as a chance for those who can’t make the regular Monday morning meetings to meet with him and give him a sense of what direction the public wants the county to go. “What does the majority think about a project? And is it something that will benefit the county?” he pointed out. He added that he’s not a “yes” person, and is straightforward with people.
Having attended commissioner and council meetings for the past seven years as sheriff, Martin knows what is going on in the county. “I know the government. I know the budgets. I’ve had to work with a slim budget for my department,” he stated.
And while the public is the primary focus and concern for Martin, he also wants to make sure that the county’s employees are looked after, too. “We need to realize that people working for the county have sacrificed a lot,” he said.
Part of that would be allowing other elected officials and department heads to run their departments, trusting them to do their jobs.
Economic development is important as well, Martin said, and he sees the additional water lines being installed along SR 9 as a good step. That will help us down the road,” he noted. “I would like to see more businesses coming in.”
But the county is still a farming community, he said. “I like the way our community is.” He added he would work to find that balance between bringing in new industry and business and keeping the county’s agricultural base. “I can find that with the public’s input,” he stated.
“It’s been a privilege and an honor to be the sheriff. It’s my highest achievement,” Martin said. “I’d like to be commissioner and be one for the people out there.”