The race to be Tarrant County’s next tax assessor-collector got competitive at the last minute.
Three GOP candidates filed to run on the December 11 deadline, joining a fourth candidate already set to compete in the 2018 Republican primary for the office vacated by Ron Wright.
Wright resigned as Tarrant County Tax Assessor-Collector to run for the 6th Congressional District seat now held by U.S. Rep. Joe Barton (R-Ennis), after Barton succumbed to pressure from conservatives and decided not to run for re-election to an 18th term.
Wendy Burgess filed on December 1 to run for Wright’s unexpired tax assessor-collector term, which extends through 2020. She formerly served on Mansfield City Council and as chairman of Mansfield’s Chamber of Commerce.
“If elected,” Burgess said, “I promise to lead this important office with a commitment to accuracy, transparency, and integrity.”
Burgess, who is the wife of Tarrant County Constable Clint Burgess, touts endorsements from Republican State Reps. Tony Tinderholt and Bill Zedler of Arlington; Tarrant County elected officials including District Attorney Sharen Wilson, Sheriff Bill Waybourn, and Commissioner Andy Nguyen; and the mayors of Arlington, Mansfield, and North Richland Hills.
Former Keller councilman Rick Barnes, who had planned to run for Tarrant County Republican Party chairman, changed course at the last minute and filed for the open tax assessor-collector position.
Barnes says he championed lowering tax rates all three years he served on city council and raised the homestead exemption for the first time in recent memory. “Taxes belong to the people,” Barnes says. “While property values rise in North Texas, it is incumbent on elected officials to provide tax relief when and where possible.”
Barnes has an extensive background in higher education and as a professional speaker and business consultant. He is a favorite among grassroots conservatives.
Hurst councilwoman Trasa Robertson Cobern also entered the tax assessor race on the last day. The former high school history teacher was elected to city council in 2016 and says she voted to reduce the tax rate in Hurst each year.
“I know that property taxes are the number one concern among taxpayers,” says Cobern. “My first action as Tax Assessor would be to return 25% of my salary back to the county and its citizens, as a show of good faith in my conservative belief that the money belongs to the taxpayers, not to government.”
Cobern adds that the tax assessor “should use their powerful voice to speak up for the people, and demand real solutions for our ever-increasing property taxes.”
Mike Snyder, a philanthropist and former NBC-5 News anchorman, filed to run for the office on the final day as well. “It is time to offer myself for public service,” he said.
“I have the skills and communication abilities to continue the legacy of good management of the Tarrant County Assessor’s office while pursuing the path of constant customer service improvement for taxpayers,” says Snyder.
Tarrant County Democrat Party Comptroller Ollie Anderson is the lone Democrat who filed to run for the office in the reliably Republican county.
The primary election date is March 6, 2018.