A case of mistaken identity


The regular meeting of the Rusk County Commissioner’s Court Tuesday was like any other as they went through 12 agenda items.

However item 13 “public comment” to which no action can be taken seemed to take the Commissioners by surprise. An African American man named Daniel approached the podium with a request.

“We’re coming today to ask what steps do we take to possibly move forward to remove the statue of Thomas Jefferson outside,” said Daniel.

Immediately Judge Joel Hale responded and said, “It’s not Thomas Jefferson, it’s Thomas Jefferson Rusk.”

“I thought it said Thomas Jefferson on it,” Daniel replied.

“That’s the first and middle name, the last name is Rusk. That’s who the county is named after,” said County Commissioner Bill Hale.

Daniel said, “Well, I guess I made a mistake I thought it said Thomas Jefferson the slave owner.”

Commissioner Hale said, “Be sure to look (at the statue) when you go outside.”

This comes at a time when many counties across the nation are allowing people to remove and even destroy historical statues when most have no idea what these statues even represent. 

At least Daniel asked the Court for permission only to discover that it was a case of mistaken identity. He apologized to the Court.

Earlier in the meeting the Rusk County Historical Commission was recognized for receiving the 2019 Distinguished Service for receiving an award from the Texas Historical Commission for its Active and Well-Balanced Preservation Program.

The Court also approved an agenda item that has come before them for months and that is replacing the windows at the Rusk County Tax Office. The winning bid was chosen by the Commissioners and will cost approximately $185,000.

The Commissioners also agreed to switch postage meter companies. For years the County has used Pitney Bowes but decided to switch to Jett Business Systems, Inc. The key factor was the savings the County would receive by switching companies. The bid by Pitney Bowes was approximately $930 per month. Jett Business Systems bid was $360 per month.

Jett Business Systems is an area company with area clients such as the City of Henderson, First Baptist Church of Henderson, Stephen F. Austin, Panola and others.

Other items on the agenda that were approved were:

A lease agreement for a hanger at the Rusk County Airport with McKinnie A. Turner Trust;

The renewal of 1033 Program with Constable Chuck McDonald;

Apply for Capital Credits from Upshur Rural Electric Cooperative for unclaimed money;

Books and other items donated to the Rusk County Library

The first report presented by Community Health Coordinator Debbie McCoy; and

The payment of bills and department reports.

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