SALADO — Larry Smith made his first public appearance as a Republican candidate for the Texas House of Representatives District 54 on Tuesday at the Salado Museum in downtown Salado.
About 15 people attended the meet-and-greet, or “sensing session,” as Smith referred to it, between 5 and 7 p.m. Tuesday, according to Mellissa Brown, treasurer for Smith’s campaign.
Smith said, “It’s good to make yourself available. Just because people can’t come out and talk to you, doesn’t mean they’re not thinking about you.”
Cliff Coleman, Republican candidate for Bell County Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace, and Judy and John Brady of the Central Texas Tea Party were among those attending to speak with Smith.
Smith lives in Killeen and is originally from Detroit, Michigan. He served 10 years in the Army until receiving a medical discharge in 2006, according to his website.
Smith, 41, has worked the past four years as a general contractor and political consultant, while running for office for his now fourth time since 2014.
Smith ran for the District 54 seat in 2016, the U.S. House of Representatives District 34 seat in 2014, and the Killeen City Council District Seat 2 in 2017, all resulting in losses.
Smith cited property tax reform, education and economic diversification as the main issues of his campaign.
“What’s wrong with property taxes?” Smith said to a Salado resident. “They’re arbitrary.”
Smith said he believes special interest groups that benefit from increased property taxes are a cause for concern, as are tax breaks given the large number of disabled veterans in the Killeen area.
Generally concerned with the efficiency and spending of public funds, Smith said he believes people will continue to leave the area if they are burdened by more taxes.
“Raising taxes is never good. Increasing efficiency is the way to go,” Smith said.
Smith will hold another event at the Salado Museum at 5 p.m. today to meet other members of the community.
“We know these are big issues but we want to know what are the concerns of the people of Salado,” Smith said.
Smith will have similar events to meet the public in Kempner from 5 to 7 p.m. Dec. 5 and 6 at the Kempner Brick Oven German restaurant.
He plans to visit Lampasas and Harker Heights before the year is over.
The Republican primary election is March 6.
A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Smith ran for the U.S. House of Representatives District 31 seat.