TYLER - The race for Smith County District Attorney has been filled with quite a bit of drama. On Thursday, CBS19 spoke with both of the candidates to get down to the issues.
"The race is truly about aggressive prosecution," Barkley said. "It is truly about judgment, and it is truly about leadership.
Barkley said bringing down the crime rate in Smith County is a priority to her.
"We have a significant amount of crime because of where we're located geographically. I-20 brings in a lot of narcotics into our county," she said.
She said her experience of prosecuting criminals and having a good relationship with law enforcement for the last 23 years is why she deserves the nomination.
"I am very proud of my record as an aggressive prosecutor," Barkley said. "I'm the only candidate that's tried a capitol murder case."
She said she's had an extensive record specifically prosecuting sexual assault cases, and child sex crimes.
In the end, she said the race comes down to who you want representing you or your loved ones.
"If my spouse is run over by a drunk driver, or if my child is assaulted by a violent criminal, who do I want to represent me in that courtroom and out of that courtroom," Barkley said.
Putman would not agree to an interview on camera today, but did issue a statement to CBS19 on what he feels is the most important issue. In part, it reads:
"Smith County needs a District Attorney who is dedicated to being tough on crime and protecting the community. The voters demand and deserve a District Attorney committed to the truth above all else. I am committed to being tough on crime and protecting our community, and I'm thankful to have law enforcement's support."
Despite how they feel about each other, they could agree on one thing. Both candidates said you should do your homework before you vote in the primaries on March 6.
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