MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

October 26, 2012

Candidates have different visions for Wagoner County

— Candidates for Wagoner County Commissioner, District 2, have differing visions for the county.

Incumbent commissioner Chris Edwards, a Democrat, said he wants to make sure county roads are improved so the county can manage continued growth.

Republican challenger Robert Snodgrass said he wants to bring in more industry and tourism.

The two will face each other in the general election Nov. 6.

“I’d like to run the county more like a business,” said Snodgrass, who has commercial rental properties. “I’ve been attending commission meetings for the last eight months and I feel I can bring more experience and knowledge. I can make better and wiser decisions than what they’re doing now. I want to be more business friendly.”

Edwards, a farmer who has worked for the county, said Wagoner County needs to keep up with growth.

He said the county has beams that were removed from Oklahoma City’s Crosstown Expressway that could be used in Wagoner County.

“Along with the growth, we need to improve our infrastructure,” Edwards said. “I have two wooden-top bridges in my district we’re going to have to replace with steel-beam bridges. My goal is to use beams from the expressway to replace defective bridges and support economic development.  We also need to work with civic groups and city governments in our county.”

Edwards said he also is concerned about emergency services.

“We have a lake area here and a lot of people retiring to the lake,” he said. “We have 14 fire districts in the county, and there are more fire districts in County District 2 than any other district. We have a tax allowing them to properly staff these fire districts.”

Snodgrass said the county needs a priority list for road work.

“We want to fix the worst roads first, then right on up the ladder, he said. “I want a website stating what we have done in the last 30 days and to publish a letter in the paper. I want commissioners to be more open. We also want and need more business in our communities — Wagoner, Okay, Toppers, Whitehorn Cove. Even our smaller communities want to bring in industry. I want to meet with economic development committees.”

Snodgrass said 24 years experience in the military and 18 years with the Grand River Dam Authority are among his main qualifications for the commissioner’s office. He said he also served on the Chouteau-Mazie Board of Education from 1992  to 1997 and has been married 39 years.

“With the skills I acquired in the military, I’m better qualified for the job,” he said.

Edwards said he worked for Wagoner County for 18 years, including as road and bridge foreman, before being elected commissioner in 2008.

“I worked with three different county commissioners and learned good and bad from them,” he said.

He said he also attended classes at Oklahoma State University and participated in a “road scholar” program.                                           

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or cspaulding@muskogee

phoenix.com.

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