I want to wish Geoff nothing but the best when his term expires and he begins the next path of his life and career. He's put together and built a great team of prosecutors and staff over the last two years.
I also wish nothing but the best for Jennifer Tharp. She is an extremely talented, personable, and intelligent woman who will continue to build and develop our office, continuing to make it one of the best small prosecutor's office in this Great State of Texas.
The county’s top prosecutor will be stepping down next year, as Comal County District Attorney Geoff Barr announced Friday that he will not be seeking re-election when his term expires in December of 2010.
The 35-year-old Barr said he will move on to work outside of public service after his one-term tenure as the county’s district attorney.
“I’m eager to start a career in the private sector,” Barr said. “I’ve enjoyed my time here and am proud what we’ve been able to build in this office. But my decision to become district attorney was based wholly on public service, and for me, I had never intended to be a career elected prosecutor.”
By the end of his term in 2010, Barr will have served eight years in county government. He began as an assistant district attorney under Dib Waldrip in 2003 before eventually succeeding him as district attorney in 2007.
The prosecutor’s decision not to seek a second term surprised many in the county.
“It comes as somewhat of a shock to me,” said Comal County Judge Danny Scheel. “I think Geoff has been an outstanding district attorney. He’s done a wonderful job for us and he will be missed.”
Barr said he had discussed his options with his family and decided that since he would eventually be practicing law in the private sector, it would be better to make the leap sooner rather than later.
“It boils down to starting a career in your 40s versus your 30s,” he said.
As the county has continued to grow, Barr said he was proud of his office’s ability to handle increasingly serious crimes and remain dedicated to prosecuting them.
“We’re trying very difficult cases,” he said. “It seems like the nature of cases as we’ve grown in this community has gotten more violent and we’ve been prosecuting them with success. And that’s only possible because we have dedicated professionals who are passionate about their work.”
As part of his announcement, Barr also chose to endorse a successor — current Chief Civil Prosecutor Jennifer Tharp.
“I think she’s the best qualified person to build on what we have here and continue our success,” he said. “I want to make sure that the magic we have going right now is protected and I know she understands that.”
Tharp had not announced her candidacy as of Friday, but said she planned make a public announcement “very soon.”
“I’m very humbled by the endorsement,” she said. “I’m committed to continuing to serve Comal County, and would certainly be honored to do so as the district attorney. I can say I’m seriously exploring this opportunity.”
With the general election not until November 2010, the current district attorney still has nearly a year and half left before his term expires. He said he will not be letting up.
“We’re going to continue to work hard and get better with each day,” Barr said.