Candidate Forum set for Tuesday

by Charles Gerian

Kay County voters will have their chance to hear from the men running for Kay County District 3 Comissioner next Tuesday, June 21, at the Candidate Forum which will be held at the Kay Room.

Hosted by the Blackwell Chamber of Commerce, the forum will feature Joe Allbaugh, Kent Field, Paul Skidmore, and John Wilson just before the June 28 election.

Doors will open at 6 p.m. and the questions will begin around 6:30, running until 8 p.m. “at the latest” according to the Chamber of Commerce.

Prior to the forum, candidates will receive a list of questions to prepare answers for. Questions will also be collected from the audience to ask the candidates.

Allbaugh, who grew up in Blackwell and went on to lead the Federal Emergency Managment Agency (FEMA) under former President George W. Bush, is expecting to make a difference in Kay County.

“I will always love Blackwell,” Allbaugh said. “I go to Bob’s [Cafe] in the morning. I talk to the folks here. I listen to them. No matter where I was in the world, my heart was always here. I always kept up with Blackwell. I always listened to the wants and needs of this city and the county.”

Allbaugh said Kay County needs vision, and that he is the man with the experience to make that a reality.

“We’re right here on I-35,” Allbaugh said. “There’s no excuse for why we’re behind the times on not only our economic development, but our internet, our cell phone reception. We have horrible cellular service and internet speeds, and that is crucial to not only citizens, but to any industry – big or small – that wants to come here. It’s the perfect location, but we’re far from where we should be.

“Our roads and bridges are another story. They all need work. They need dedicated work, and a solid plan to carry out that work. Look at Hubbard Road, for example, or any of our bridges.”

Kent Field was born and raised in Kay County, and believes he can lead Blackwell and the surrounding area into the future.

“We need to think long term for Kay County,” said Field, “we need to look at flood management, roads, and start laying a better foundation for our future. Business is important as well, of course, and that will come in right off the interstate once we have that foundation. Once we establish our longterm goals, then people will want to be a part of that.”

Paul Skidmore, who previously held the County Comissioner office in the early 2010’s, says he plans to “make a difference”.

“I believe that you should strive to make a difference in all of your endeavors,” he said, “public office as work and work requires effort at every turn […] if elected this term my priority, in addition to other duties, will be to open up the Hubbard Road shortcut to Ponca City.”

John Wilson is looking to retain his seat as County Commissioner, and stated “this is a full time job for me, and I intend to keep that going. During my time in office we’ve done multiple bridges with the Kaw Nation […] we still have a lot to get done- we have more roads that need improved as well as bridges, and that includes Hubbard Road.” Wilson stated he will continue to tackle road repair and remain fiscally responsible if reelected.