When government begins to fail in its basic responsibilities due to poor leadership, corruption, or liberalism, Tim Harry will usually be the first face to appear, leading a citizens brigade of angry taxpayers to restore accountability to the people.

A native to the energy epicenter of Odessa, Harry lives there with his wife and three children. Professionally, Tim works with production chemicals for the oil and gas industry.

Harry hasn’t always been involved politically, he says. He became politically active in 2016 when a close friend decided to run for state representative, and Harry decided to volunteer for the campaign.

“I started stirring up trouble then and have just kept it up,” he said. “I learned so much about what makes the local political scene here in West Texas tick.”

But it wasn’t until after the campaign that Harry’s activism kicked into hyperdrive.

When the local elected board of the Ector County Hospital District [MCH]—where Harry’s wife Ashley worked—began accelerating a long trend of decline and bad governance, Harry felt he had to get involved.

It all started when the hospital began making unusual real estate purchases, buying up land and buildings near the hospital with no immediate need for the real estate and sometimes purchasing the properties for many times more the appraised value.

Insult turned to outrage when Hospital Board President Bill Webster, who spearheaded the effort to spend millions on the real estate purchases, then proposed increasing property taxes to replace the millions the hospital lost on the purchases. Webster said that “lives would be at risk” without the tax increase, as the hospital would not have enough money to take care of patients.

Harry spoke out against the tax hikes, helping inform and organize citizens against the hospital’s actions, ultimately defeating the increase. But it didn’t end there.

In response, the hospital board moved to cut retirement benefits from roughly 450 retired employees. At that point, Tim knew he had to take action.

With hospital board members up for election, Harry began block walking for challengers, helping with their campaign advertising, providing campaign strategy, organizing with other volunteers, and identifying voters. Eventually, a majority of the hospital board was replaced, and the hospital has seen massive reforms under the new administration.

Harry says that through his involvement, he wants to see the public be better informed. “We have to get the swamp out of our local political offices before we can have a hope of getting it out at the state and federal level.”

He has since been involved in numerous campaigns and does extensive watchdog-style research, keeping other local activist allies apprised of pertinent information and rallying the troops when needed.

“Politics can be messy,” Harry says. “Swamp monsters don’t always go down the drain easily. In the end, though, it is totally worth it. Our freedoms and future are at stake.”

Matt Stringer

Matthew Stringer is from Odessa, TX and serves as a West Texas Correspondent for Texas Scorecard.