A former commissioner and a first time candidate are the two Democratic choices for the District 3 County Commission race.
Danny Duncan, who was the previous commissioner for the district, and Carl Lancaster, will face off during the Tuesday, June 26 primary election.
The winner of that race will go against the current commissioner, Martin Kirk, during the November general election.
Meet the candidates
• Danny Duncan
Duncan, previously served as the county commissioner for District 3 from 2010 to 2014. He was defeated by three votes in the 2014 primary election.
Duncan said he would like a second term in office, because he believes there are issues he would like to see addressed, remaining from his first term in office.
"I would like to see the county running in the right direction," Duncan said.
Duncan, and his partner, Nancy, have been together for 22 years. Together they have three boys: Colby and his wife, Shea; Shane and his wife Tracy; and Taylor. They also have four grandchildren: Gabi, Brooklyn, Brinley and Braden.
Born and raised in Delaware County, Duncan spent 30 years in the U.S. Army. He saw action in Desert Storm.
He now raises Registered Beefmaster and mixed cattle on a 204 acre ranch in District 3.
Duncan describes himself as "conservative," Democrat, but says there are issues on both sides of the party he both agrees and disagrees with.
Duncan said he was approached by voters to consider seeking a second term in office, because of the state of the current roadways and bridges within the district - including roadways not completed with the Cherokee Nation, and state department of transportation.
He would also like to see some issues, with the current dispatch system for the Delaware County Sheriff's Office, and with the Delaware County Solid Waste resolved.
"I would like to finish the projects I had started," Duncan said, explaining that he had previously scheduled 14 bridges within the district for repairs.
He said he believes the current commissioner has decided not to seek repairs on at least six bridges from that initial list.
He would also like to see changes in the district's equipment, saying the current fleet is in "bad shape."
"We need to look at leasing graders, dozers and trucks instead of owning them," Duncan said, adding he believes the only way to truly improve the county's roadways would be for voters to consider a half-cent tax with monies funding improvements.
"We're a poor county with not a lot of money set aside for roads," Duncan said.
Leasing equipment would allow the district to obtain three to four graders, which would allow the staff to cover the entire area - which encompasses much of the southern part of the county, from Jay to the county lines.
"It's a big area, with more roads and bridges than the other two districts," Duncan said, adding as the Grove area continues to grow in population, District 3 continues to grow in size.
"We're pushed more and more to the north," Duncan said. "Right now 51 percent of the bridges in Delaware County are in District 3 now."
Duncan believes his experience as a veteran will help enhance his service to the county. He plans to make sure signage is improved for the county barns within the district, and return both the Oklahoma and American flags to the barns.
He would also represent the county at both the Association of County Commissioners and the Circuit Engineering Meetings, something he said is vital in order to ensure funding continues to come to the district.
Duncan would also like to see the south end of the county grow in terms of its infrastructure needs - so future growth could take place.
As commissioner, he helped establish a water cooperative in the southern portion of the county which helped connect Kansas, Colcord, West Siloam Springs and Oaks to the same water system.
"It's been a huge help," Duncan said. "Look at the economic growth in the areas. West Siloam now has a new Love's gas station, while Colcord has a Dollar General, and Kansas a drug store.
"Part of the growth there is because of the water."
Duncan believes the time is ripe for growth to come to the southern portion of the county.
"Siloam Springs, Arkansas is busting out at the seems," Duncan said. "We need to tell people exactly why they should leave Arkansas and come to Oklahoma.
"It's time. The southern end needs to grow."
Duncan would also like to see inmates put to work on the county road crews each day - a program he said former Sen. Rick Littlefield used when he was the interim sheriff.
"Just because they are in jail, it doesn't mean they don't have skills," Duncan said, adding some could work as mechanics with supervision on county vehicles, while others could complete carpentry jobs or be out cutting brush or picking up trash.
In terms of dispatch, Duncan would like to see the office back under control of the 911 administrators, rather than the sheriff's office. He would also like to address the fee assessed to area fire and police departments by the sheriff's office for dispatching service.
Ultimately, he said, he wants voters to know he will work hard for them and strive to improve the county's operation.
"People in the south end aren't happy," Duncan said. "They need to vote and take interest [in the election]. Either elect me or someone else. These issues need to be fixed."
• Carl Lancaster
As a first-time candidate, Lancaster considers himself to be a moderate Democrat.
Married since 1980 to his wife, Sherry, the couple have two children: son Eric and his wife Misty, and daughter Carleah Durbin; and four grandchildren: Baylor, Mariah, Shiloh and Kanyon.
Lancaster said a desire to fix problems, he's seen grow over the years, led him to pursue the commissioner seat.
"There's been so many problems down there for so many years, I would like to try to fix some of it," Lancaster said. "I would like to try to help it out."
Among the immediate improvements, Lancaster would like to see the equipment updated in District 3. He would also like to help the District 3 workers get additional funds.
"I probably won't be able to work miracles," Lancaster said. "But I want people to understand that I'd like to try."
For the past 22 years, Lancaster has worked as a member of the District 2 road crew, an experience he said he will use to make improvements to the District 3 system.
A 1979 graduate of Jay High School, Lancaster has lived in the area his entire life. He spent some of his career working on the road as a welder.
"I want to work for the whole district, not just for my area," Lancaster said. "I want to work for everybody. One for all and all for one is the way I see it."
Lancaster believes there are several issues facing the incoming commissioner including a need to update the equipment.
"Down there, they have a lot of trouble with breakdowns because their machinery is old," Lancaster said. "We need to find a way to upgrade it.
"In the meantime, we also need to keep the roads up the best we can."
Lancaster said as commissioner, he would strive to meet the needs of constituents as they call in issues.
"As I've talked with people down there, the main concerns seems to be the roads," Lancaster said, adding he believes everyone employed by the county should strive to keep the equipment up at all times.
"I have a grader I use that's six years old, but it's almost new because we've taken care of it," Lancaster said. "People need to remember the county pays for this stuff..[we need to try] to take care of it."
He believes monies could be found for raises for the District 3 crews, if money is saved through the care of equipment.
During his time on the District 2 crew, Lancaster has worked for four different commissioners: Howard Payton, Bill Cornett, Tom Sanders and Russell Martin.
"I've learned from these four men," Lancaster said. "I'm not a politician I'm a guy with no experience with that.
"But if people will help me, I'll learn how. There's a lot of good people around me. If I stumble, I'll ask somebody for help.
"I'll work for the citizens of District 3, not just for one of them, but all of them - for the whole district."
Friday, June 1 is the last day to apply for voter registration in order to take part in the Tuesday, June 26 primary election.
Voters who are at least 18 years of age, residents of Oklahoma and U.S. citizens may become registered voters.
Those who are not registered or need to change their registration may apply by filling out and mailing an Oklahoma Voter Registration Application form in time for it to be postmarked no later than midnight Friday, June 1.
Applications postmarked after that time will be accepted and processed, but not until after June 26.
The County Election Board responds in writing to every person who submits an application for voter registration. The response is either a voter identification card listing the new voter’s precinct number or polling place location or a letter that explains the reason or reasons the application for voter registration was not approved.
Any person who has submitted a voter registration application and who has not received a response within 30 days should contact the County Election Board office.
Oklahoma Voter Registration Application forms are available at the County Election Board office located at 225 South Fifth Street, Jay, and at most post offices, tag agencies and public libraries in the county. Applications also are available at www.elections.ok.gov.