Voices of County Government: Martin Nash

Tyler County commissioner discusses his passion for county government

Tyler County Commissioner Martin Nash
In all 254 counties, county government is a full-time job. Texas county government officials dedicate their careers and lives to public service and are the foremost experts on the challenges their neighbors face each day. County government officials are as diverse as the Texans who elect them, coming from every background imaginable. But as a group, they have one thing in common: from El Paso to Newton and from Dallam to Cameron, legislators can trust that county officials are dedicated partners, committed to keeping Texas strong. Here, county officials talk about their passion for public service and hopes for this legislative session.

County: How long have you been involved in county government? What was your background before being elected?

Nash: I have served as the commissioner for Precinct 1 since January 2005. I had retired from AT&T and had a small construction company. I served on the Warren ISD school board for four years. I retired from AT&T after 30 years service and owned and operated several business before being elected commissioner.

 

County: Why and how did you become involved in county government and why have you stuck with it? What is the best part of your job?

Nash: My family has always been service-oriented, so it was a natural progression for me and my family. My interaction with the people especially, the young people, is what’s most enjoyable for me.

County: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve dealt with as an elected official and what advice would you give to other county officials facing the same or a similar challenge?

Nash: The three major diasters that we have faced: Hurricanes Rita, Hurricane Ike and the 2006 floods. Make the best decisions with the citizens welfare in mind. Do your own research and do what is best for your situation.

County: What kinds of things do you do to ensure that you’re working for your constituents and hearing from them, and that citizens are aware of what your office is doing?  

Nash: Have an open office, return your calls, be honest and truthful.  I publish articles in the local papers from time to time. Communication is essential. It is not always easy, but it will cure a mulitude of sins.

County: What’s been your proudest accomplishment as a county government official?  

Nash: Our handling of major diasters and our successful work in economic development.

County: What’s the best thing about your county? 

Nash: Hands down, the people, especially our children. We are so blessed to live in an exceptionally beautiful part of our great state. The East Texas “Piney Woods” are extraodinarily beautiful.

County: How do you describe your job to people who may not be familiar with the day-to-day of what you do or the responsibilities of your office, or with the way county government functions? Are there any common misconceptions that you hear?

Nash: Most believe and vote on the basis of their experience with the roads and taxes. I would say that is about 30 percent of the job.  For small rural counties, commissioners court handles most all of the operations of the county, from the administration of grants to publicity and from cleaning the courthouse to lobbying in Austin, from keeping abreast of new laws and regulations to making sure there are porta potties at fair time. I don’t know if you could explain to the public all that is involved in rural county operations (so you better keep the roads maintained and the taxes low).

County: What are your future goals for your county or office, or what project are you most looking forward to accomplishing in the future?

Nash: We will continue to move our county forward and keep up with the current responsibilities that are inflicted on us from Austin and Washington. We will work to advance our economy to improve the opportunities for our citizens, especially our youth.

County: Is there anything else you’d like to add or talk about regarding your role as an elected official, your office or your county?

Nash: It has been an absolute joy to work for the folks here in Tyler County. I love what I do and enjoy working with my teammates on commissioners court, our county employees, and my friends and neighbors.​