Valenza launches re-election campaign for Houston County sheriff

Houston County Sheriff Donald Valenza speaks to WTVY's Ken Curtis before launching a second term re-election bid in this November 2, 2017 photo.
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Dothan (WTVY)-- Houston County Sheriff Donald Valenza launched his re-election campaign Thursday, telling supporters he wants to build on accomplishments made during his first term.

“What makes this so important is the 38 years I’ve been in the department. I still enjoy it,” Valenza said.

He never thought he’d be sheriff but, in 2014, predecessor Andy Hughes accepted a job with the Department of Homeland Security. Hughes had already captured the Republican nomination for a third term when he resigned.

The Houston County Republican Executive Committee then tapped Valenza to replace Hughes on the ballot and he became sheriff later that year.

“I just want to be here for my deputies and the citizens of Houston County and serve them,” he cites as catalysts for the re-election bid.

Valenza also points to what he terms significant improvements in the 155-officer department. Among them---restructuring supervisory positions, implementing the use of drones, and developing a program to help deputies who struggle job related stress.

He thrives on getting in the trenches with his officers, Valenza admits. He was a longtime investigator in the sheriff’s office.

Ironically, Hughes, now retired from law enforcement, plans to seek his old job. The primary will be in June.

No Democrats have announced candidacy.