A Stephenville native is throwing his hat into the race for Erath County commissioner of precinct 3.

Justin Slawson, 41, is challenging longtime commissioner Joe Brown for the job in the March 3 Republican Party Primary.

“My decision to run happened out of nowhere,” Slawson told the E-T on Monday. “I’m trying to lower the tax burden, period. I have property that is already paid for and I want to leave it to my two little girls. At this rate, by the time they inherit it, they won’t be able to afford the taxes.”

Slawson grew up in Stephenville and graduated from SHS in 1996. He has owned AAA Roofing and Construction for 12 years, and said if he is elected, he will keep the company.

“I have great people who help manage and run it,” he said. “I would do both.”

Slawson said he was moved to run for commissioner earlier this year when county officials proposed a tax rate increase.

Slawson, along with others in the community, fought the proposal and Slawson believes that effort prompted county officials to reverse their decision. 

“I wanted to put my money where my mouth is so I decided to run for commissioner,” he said. “Plus, I’m a laborer, a worker. I am used to this type of work.”

As commissioner Slawson said he would be willing to cut his starting pay from a little more than $68,000 a year to $59,500 and forego the county’s health insurance.   

“I would save the county money right off the bat,” he said. 

Slawson says he wants the county to get “back to values.”

“I will strive for my precinct to be the most conservative on our finances while at the same time getting done more than is asked of me,” he said. 

He also said he supports eight-year term limits for local elected officials. 

Joe Brown has been serving as commissioner of precinct 3 for 12 years and is completing his third term.

“He wants to serve for 16 years and that’s inconsistent with conservative values,” Slawson said.

Slawson and his wife Patty have two children.