Meet Grimes County Commissioner Barbara Henley Walker

Walker will be sworn into her third term

By County magazine staff

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How long have you been county commissioner? 

I am ending my second term and am looking forward to being sworn in for my third term. What an honor and a privilege this has been! 

Before you won election, what kind of work did you do? How did you get interested in running for office? 

I'd been in the service industry as a salon owner/operator and a Realtor for over 32 years. Listening to people's wants, needs and desires encouraged me to want to do more in my community to be a conduit for change. Having a seat at the table that had the ability to shape those changes for the better, I believed my talents could benefit my county. 

What was the biggest surprise or adjustment after taking office? 

Being self-employed for so many years and suddenly being employed by all the citizens in the county was a big adjustment. The neighborhood grocery store, gas stations and eateries suddenly became meeting rooms with citizens stopping to tell me their needs and what they wanted to happen. Learning and trying to explain that we could only do what state statutes allowed and going from my business world to government was certainly an adjustment. 

What are some of the most difficult challenges you have faced, and what advice would you give your peers across the state who may face similar challenges? 

The most difficult challenge I’ve had since taking office is making the tough decisions that while they altered the lives of some, their benefits would eventually outweigh their disappointments. Serving in an area that is centrally located between growing, demanding larger regions, with new roads and pipelines crisscrossing your county, you make those tough decisions that may cause you to have to take a bold stand to protect the citizens you serve. 

Since taking office, what accomplishment are you most proud of? 

Leadership is sometimes a thankless job, but you do it because you want to make sure you’re doing your job serving others. At a time when I was pondering whether I was doing enough, or if people even noticed or knew the battles I'd fought on their behalf, I was voted “best elected official” by the citizens of Grimes County. It was an awesome surprise to receive that confirmation, which inspires me to keep being relentless for the community I serve! 

What do you find are the most successful methods for reaching out to the residents of Grimes County to communicate what your office is doing and why? 

I believe my most successful communications come from talking one on one or to smaller groups that want to know what my office is doing and why. On a larger scale, Facebook has been beneficial in getting pertinent information to the community, particularly during the pandemic. 

What do you do when you’re not at work? Do you have any hobbies or something unique that you are interested in that may surprise your colleagues? 

I'm a very creative person who loves designing jewelry, making floral arrangements and repurposing older items. They're surprised to see some of my hidden talents! 

What is your favorite thing about Grimes County? 

Over the years I’ve found the people who live in Grimes County to be very warm, caring and respectful when you present yourself to them in the same manner.