Traveling manBy NIKKI ROWELL,
Madison county leader and family enjoys exploring europe in addition to snow skiing out west.
From the sandy beaches to snowcapped mountains, Trey Baxter is ensuring his family sees it all.
“Travel is my hobby and I think it’s important for my family to see the world and experience different people and different cultures. That’s my real interest,” said Baxter, District Two supervisor in Madison County and Madison resident.
He and his wife, Erin, and son Hampton, 5, like to take at least one trip each year to spend time together as a family away from home.
This year, they made the trip over to Europe highlighting Paris and London. They also have an upcoming trip planned to Vail. Last year, their destination was Aspen, and the French Riviera the year before that.
In London, Baxter set his sights on all of the historical places he could in the few days they spent in the city, including visits to Parliament and the Imperial War Museum.
“I’m a World War II buff, so I like to study about tanks and armor and strategy and things like that,” he said.
They make a point to go overseas every other year, normally to a European destination.
“I like the history and architecture of Europe, and my wife likes the shopping and beaches,” Baxter said.
On off years, they study up on different places and discuss it often to choose a destination that fits both of their interests. They also go snow skiing each year, because their son loves it.
In the past, they’ve made trips to Germany, Switzerland and Austria, among others.
“It’s a fairytale,” he said of Switzerland. “Snow-covered peaks and the rivers are crystal blue. There’s this giant banking center where billions of dollars are flowing through every day and then on the hillsides there’s sheep.”
He described Italy’s Amalfi Coast as a fairytale, too.
“I don’t have the personality to describe how beautiful it is,” Baxter joked.
He is eyeing Croatia and Portugal for a future trip.
“I would like to inch over into the Eastern block and maybe get into Czechoslovakia and Romania,” he said.
Traveling to these places appeals to him because of childhood memories of growing up in Mississippi, growing vegetables and riding horses.
“That’s why I think I’m attracted to Eastern Europe,” he said.
Baxter grew up in Clinton. After graduating from Clinton public schools, he went on to the University of Southern Mississippi where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business.
An interest in local government runs in Baxter’s family. Years ago, before Mary Hawkins Butler was elected mayor in Madison, Baxter’s grandfather L.T. Mangold was the city’s leader.
“He was on the board of aldermen and then he was mayor,” he said. “I think his total political career in Madison was about 30 years. I think he retired in 1972.”
Mangold also owned a general store, which was located across from Butler’s antique store. This tie to the city of Madison led Baxter to later make the move to the area.
Baxter got his first taste of local government in 2015 when he was elected supervisor in District Two, which is composed of the city of Madison, Gluckstadt and stretches out to Livingston.
“Some of the things that were going on in the county troubled me, and I thought I could do a better job,” he said. “Madison was also facing pretty significant transportation needs and I knew I could help get them done.”
He is most proud of his work on county road projects and eliminating waste in the county budget years ago to save $1.4 million.
“I’m an efficiency guy. I like to make things as efficient as possible,” Baxter said. “I want to put as much money into paving and road widening as possible and spend less on buildings and personnel.”
When Baxter isn’t serving Madison County, he and Erin work managing their properties.
He started his career in medical sales during the week, but spent his nights and weekends working on the real estate he purchased.
“I started buying one house at a time and flipping it,” he said. “Until I was able to start buying apartment complexes and office buildings. Now, I have over 100 tenants that my wife and I manage and operate.”
They now own properties in Starkville, Belhaven, Clinton and Ridgeland.
“This is what I always wanted to do,” he said. “I like real estate because it’s something I can control and manage. It’s tangible.”
His professional background translates into his work with the county as well.
“Having a business degree helps because I know how to work with employees and how to manage money,” Baxter said.