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PAVE forum: County Commissioner incumbent gives views on roads, budget

By Vicky O. Misa | | (405) 214-3962 | Twitter: @Vicky_NewsStar
The Shawnee News-Star

Last week PAVE (Pottawatomie Advocates for Voter Education) hosted a candidate forum for 11 hopefuls running for offices relating to county and state seats, though two did not participate.

Two are running for District 2 Pottawatomie County Commissioner seat: incumbent Randy Thomas and Jason Evans.

Evans was not in attendance; he did not participate in the forum.

Thomas offered his take on several issues; here are some of the questions along with his responses.

QUESTION: In District 2, what are your main top three future projects you would like to see accomplished?

ANSWER: The intersection at 177 and Hardesty is going to be four-laned; the west side of 177 back to 13th Street, so at 7:30 a.m. we won't be backed up.

You'll see dirt starting to move on that in September, which is very exciting; I've waited seven years for this to happen.

Also, Hardesty Phase 2, which will resurface six miles.

QUESTION: There are rumors that the County Fair may leave the expo and find its own location, do you support this effort? Why or why not?

ANSWER: I think we need to keep the expo.

I do believe that we do need to partner up and be better partners with the city and the expo board.

QUESTION: If the County needs to make budget cuts because of decreased revenue, where will you start?

ANSWER: I had $700,000 put in a project account for this summer that we were going to do and then March came along, … so I moved that $700,000 into reserve to keep our core services going. So we are in good shape financially.

QUESTION: Are you supportive of adding on to the existing courthouse for additional space and parking? If yes, why? If not, why not?

ANSWER: I am supportive of it, but I believe it needs to stay within a budget. They are bursting at the seams at the courthouse. I'm not supportive of building a Taj Mahal for $10 million; I'd like to see more of a $4 million add-on. We've got some reserves put back from the Use Tax Fund.

QUESTION: If the expansion of the courthouse comes to fruition, are you willing to let any underground parking be used as a storm shelter?

ANSWER: I think nowadays they don't build underground parking because people have a tendency want to pull a car in there with a bomb in it, and blow a building down. So, I wouldn't support underground drives.

Other races

Three candidates are running for Pottawatomie County Sheriff: Incumbent Mike Booth, Jeff Griffith and Ben Henderson.

Competing for the state Senate District 17 position are Incumbent Ron Sharp, Brandon Baumgarten and Shane Jett.

Vying to secure the state Senate District 28 seat are Zack Taylor, Mike Haines and Christian Ford.

Questions ranged from things like budget cuts and concerns; the expo; top projects; and roads and bridges.

The election is June 30.

Watch future editions of The Shawnee News-Star or visit for upcoming stories reporting candidate responses to some of the top issues discussed at the forum.