Four Sequoyah County men are in the race for District 2 County Commissioner. The incumbent commissioner, Steve Carter, is running for re-election and he will be opposed by three candidates, Beau Burlison, Michael Cobb and Jay Alred.
Steve Carter, Incumbent
In regard to seeking his re-election Steve Carter stated, “Over the past 15 years, hard work has brought in over $30 million dollars of outside money to our county.”
Carter is a lifelong resident of Sequoyah County, an Army veteran, a graduate of Oklahoma State University, an OSU-accredited commissioner, an OSU-trained Roads Scholar commissioner, a 45-year member of the Oklahoma Masonic Lodge and a 41-year member of Ironworkers Union Local 584.
“Over the years I have served Sequoyah County on many boards. I serve locally on the County Health Department board, the County Community Sentencing board and the Kibois Community Action Agency board. I also serve our county on outside boards as well, including the SIG/SIF Insurance Board (which provides insurance for our county), the OSU County Officers Training advisory board, Oklahoma Department of Transportation advisory board, the eight-county Circuit Engineering board and the Governor’s Workforce Investment board. I have also served our county and state on the National Association of Counties Transportation committee. This puts me in a position to learn where and how to acquire the funding that we need so that we can have the much-needed improvements that we deserve in Sequoyah County. As your commissioner, my dream is to get the best for Sequoyah County and that takes working hard every day,” Carter said.
Beau Burlison, a football and wrestling coach at Vian Public Schools, said in an interview that he feels there are things he can do to make a better district and he is excited by the opportunity to run for office.
Burlison is a 1995 graduate of Vian High School. He said his philosophy as county commissioner was tied to his role as a coach. “Seeing results, setting goals and attaining them rubs off on people” and brings them together, he said. Burlison said he will also bring reasonable and fair decision-making to the office if elected.
“I have worked in the public school system and volunteered for over 15 years promoting the future of the youth of our community,” Burlison said. “I now see a need to do the same for the entire county. I plan to be a leader in the community for a long time.”
Michael Cobb grew up in Wagoner, where he graduated high school in 1982 before attending OSU/Okmulgee. He moved to Vian in 2002.
For four years, Cobb helped coach the Vian Elementary wrestling program and also served on the board of Vian Little League baseball.
For the past five years, Cobb has served on the Vian Board of Education and has been the board’s president for the past 18 months.
“If afforded the opportunity to serve as Sequoyah County District 2 commissioner, I will work hard to assure that our roads and bridges are better maintained on a more consistent basis. I believe that we have some of the best county workers. Leadership is what is lacking here,” Cobb said.
There is plenty of room for improvement, Cobb said. “No matter how good we get, there is always room to improve and we should diligently seek areas in which we can become better at what we do. Improvement is a continuous process. If I am elected I will better serve the needs of the second district,” he said.
“Experience is what sets me apart from the other Republicans running for this office,” Cobb said. “I recently retired after 35 years in the aircraft industry. I have 10 years experience of presiding over multimillion-dollar budgets, ranging from $7.5 million to $15 million annually. I spent 10 years running the chemical lab at the plant. I have extensive experience with audits at the international, federal, customer and local levels. As a part of my role in these positions, I frequently wrote and updated technical specifications.”
“I also dealt with different governmental agencies at all levels on a routine basis. I know how to make tough decisions when necessary and then how to face the storm that follows. I know how to work with others to get things done as well. Please feel free to ask any other questions that you have. As a local rancher I drive these county roads and we have some things that we need to change to improve our roads. The basics are being neglected. Crowning the roads, cutting out the potholes, cleaning the ditches, keeping the culverts opened up and unobstructed and maintaining the watersheds to allow for proper drainage and minimize washouts are absolute musts. Improvement is a continuous process and we will constantly be looking ways to get better and more efficient at what we do. Nobody will work harder or study more than I will! If elected, all people of District 2 will be better served. I will bring leadership and experience to this office.”
Alred has also thrown his hat into the ring. In a statement announcing his candidacy, Alred said, “I am excited to announce my candidacy for Sequoyah County Commissioner District 2. While I have made my home in District 2 for the past 10 years, I have been well acquainted with Sequoyah County for over 30 years.
“As county commissioner, my goal would be to make this the best district it can be. I stand on the platform that all will be treated equally. I will work to the best of my ability to clean up right-of-ways and to improve county roads in the district.
“I have worked for Cherokee County for the past eight years and currently serve as the flood plain administrator and safety coordinator. This position allows me to work closely with Cherokee County residents, Cherokee County commissioners, emergency management and the 911 office. I understand the issues we face in District 2, and the people of Sequoyah County are of the utmost importance to me. I look forward to bringing my experience working with local government to help meet the needs of District 2.”
Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer
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