Smith County debate gets intense - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Smith County debate gets intense

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SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) -

A political forum became the spot for verbal fireworks Monday night in Smith County.  

The Smith County League of Women Voters hosted a debate for several races, but two featured some pretty intense disagreement between the candidates.  

Austin Reeve Jackson told the audience he knows he doesn't have the extensive prosecution experience of incumbent Smith County D.A. Matt Bingham but he did have some experience.  

"I prosecuted for a year," Jackson said. "I started in Lubbock County. And in that time I handled cases ranging from misdemeanor to felony, and was fortunate enough to work on a capital murder appeal that went to the Supreme Court."   

Smith County D.A. Matt Bingham then read from a letter he said disputed Reeve's statement.

He said the Lubbock County D.A. signed a letter that said, in part, "It appears that Mr. Jackson served as intern in our juvenile division while he was in school.  He never served as an assistant criminal district attorney and wasn't paid by our office. "  

KLTV 7 spoke to Jackson after the debate about Bingham's letter.  He told us he was not on Lubbock County's payroll because he did contract work for the county.

The other intense debate occurred between Smith County Judge Joel Baker and challenger John Furlow.  

When an attendee asked Judge Baker about what failure during his tenure he wish had turned out differently, Baker mentioned the county jail's problems over the years.  

Furlow said Baker should have said when he took a pay raise during a time when people were being laid off. 

Baker responded that he had already addressed that issue, which happened during his first year in office, and since Furlow questioned his leadership on that financial issue, Furlow should explain why he took two salaries while he was in the military.  

Furlow talked about how he was in a legal contest with the state over that issue, and he had documentation that proved his position and welcomed his day in court with that lawsuit.

State Representative Matt Schaefer, who's being challenged by Tyler businessman Skip Ogle, did not attend Monday's forum.

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