Bentley Nettles, an Army veteran who rose to rank of Brigadier General and served as Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission executive director, is one of three candidates running for Brazos County Precinct 1 Commissioner, which encompasses most of southern Brazos County.
Nettles, Texas A&M Class of 1985, served 32 years in the U.S. Army and Texas Army National Guard before he was released from active duty in 2015. He earned 24 awards and badges, including a Purple Heart. Nettles then opened a law firm in Bryan and represented veterans. In 2017, he was tabbed to take over day-to-day operations at TABC after his predecessor stepped down due to a spending scandal.
“I’m not a politician and I don’t make promises I can’t keep,” Nettles said. “I’m a very high-energy person. I’ve always approached tasks put in front of me that way. And I intend to be a full-time county commissioner. I consult and I teach a class, but all of that is done or can be done after hours. I think it’s important people think about what they want out of their county commissioner because they’re getting paid to be a full-time county employee, so they need to be available to help the residents on a full-time basis and that’s my intention.”
Nettles sees Brazos County at an inflection point as it becomes more suburban and urban. Nettles said travel times in south College Station have grown longer as the city has expanded. He said he wants to look ahead at the county’s contributed growth, particularly in the southern sector where neighborhoods continue to be built out.
“The infrastructure is a big issue in Precinct 1,” Nettles said. “We have a lot of the county roads down there. We need the county to invest in infrastructure so we’ll be able to continue to get around. I believe Precinct 1’s the fastest-growing precinct, if not they’re really close, because we have a lot of farmland and as that farmland turns into subdivisions, you’re having an increased strain on infrastructure.”
Automation is an area Nettles said he’d like to see the county improve upon. When Nettles took over at TABC, it took 80 days for new permits to be approved. He said that wait time was down to just 48 hours when he left five years later thanks to advancements in customer technological interface.
“I’m a big believer you should be able to do business with the county from your phone like you do the rest of the world,” Nettles said. “I think that’s the direction most of the world is headed and I think that’s the direction our county needs to go.”
As a veteran, Nettles noted he’d like to see Brazos County develop either a virtual or physical one-stop shop for veterans to get information from the county, state, Texas Veteran’s Commission and the federal Veteran’s Administration.
Self-described as a traditional Republican and proponent of limited government, Nettles said he would look to find ways to save and stretch taxpayer money.
“We need think about ways to save taxpayer dollars, whether it be buying [Chevrolet] Tahoes that almost all the law enforcement agencies buy, but I don’t see the county, the city of Bryan, the city of College Station, collectively, buying those Tahoes and I think they should,” Nettles said. “I think they should consider that because like in business, people do that. … They buy collectively so they can get a better deal. But we’re not doing that at the county right now and I’d like to see us start exploring some of those opportunities.”
Ultimately, Nettles said he wants to be someone who can help bring people together, if elected as a county commissioner.
“We don’t need name-calling and disruptors on our county Commissioner’s Court,” he said.