The June 26 primary will decide the Roger’s County Commissioner for District 3 for the next four years. Commissioners serves both the executive and the legislative duties required at a county level, meaning they enact local ordinances and administer them. They  approve budgets, oversee spending and hire county employees. 

Ron Burrows, 57, Incumbent

What do you think are the top three priorities for the county?

“I would say the first priority is to ensure that the one cent tax that has been in place since 1988 is renewed. It’s not a new tax. That one penny is dedicated to roads and bridges and it makes up two-thirds of our operating budget.

“Without that tax, if it does not get renewed, two-thirds of our budget goes away. It is the reason we have paved roads all throughout Rogers County, so it’s critical that it gets renewed. That is the number one priority.

“The second priority is to continue to focus on the material services law suit debt and do everything we can to expediate paying that off, which we have done.

“We renegotiated the bond last year and applied the eighth of a penny of that one cent road and bridge tax that was approved five years, and applied that additional money to take 10 years of payments off from that law suit.

“If we get that passed again, we could have that lawsuit paid off as soon as 2022, which will save Rogers County citizens millions in interest. That will also roll back our overall sales tax by a third of a penny from an additional tax set up in 2005 to pay that lawsuit off. That’ll increase your buying power as a consumer.

“We’re well on our way to potentially paying that off 15 years early and saving millions in interest.

“The third priority has got to be centered around public safety. We’ve got to be able to ensure that the Sheriff’s Department is funded to the best of our ability, to make sure they can do their job.

“The jails tie into that. We’ve got a jail overcrowding problem just like every jail across this country. We’ve got to really put some emphasis and effort into making sure that our public safety funding is in place.”

Why are you a better choice than your opponent?

“I think my resume and the experience I’ve had over my working life time absolutely puts me in a position of experience in nearly all he requirements of a commissioner.

“I approached running four years ago as a job interview. I presented my resume. I have heavy equipment experience, road and bridge building experience, experience managing multi-million dollar budgets for the companies I’ve worked for in the past, I’ve had hundreds of employees over the course of my career.

“It was a resume that I felt confident covered all of the necessary requirements of a commissioner

Patrick Box, 52

What do you think are the top three priorities for the county?

“Our first priority, of course, is public safety on our roadways. Whatever that would entail, I would try to make sure to carry it out to the best of my abilities for our public.

“The second job is being the voice of the people in your district. I believe their voice needs to be heard because when you’re elected, the people are the boss. I believe in my heart that the people should be heard at the courthouse.

“Job number three would be to ensure getting monies for the county. Any kind of income you can get, whether that be federal or through grants, for the betterment of Rogers County. Just be on the look out for whatever extra you can get for county development, to bring jobs in, to take care of the jail and the Sheriff’s Department, extra money for the Health Department. Do what it takes to be a help to Rogers County.

Why are you a better choice than your opponent?

“I believe I’m the better choice because of my work ethic and my knowledge of equipment, roadways and bridges. I’ve been around hundreds of commissioners in the whole state. I’ve been out on jobs with them, whether it be paving or building bridges. I go to all kinds of meetings in different areas.

“Everybody’s not the same. They have a different kind of ground in western Oklahoma, they have more right-of-way to different types of things then we do in northeastern Oklahoma. We have to work just a little bit harder on some projects. But I believe that I can get that job done, no matter what it is, on the roadways.

“As far as meeting financial needs and stuff like that, I’ve been in business for 13 years with my brother at Boxer Construction Equipment. I’ve done buying, selling, management. I’ve also been to a lot of schools. I’ve actually put on asphalt schools for our counties.

“That aspect right there, the construction business part of it, I’m going to be really knowledgeable. I’ll know what we need, what to buy, and I’ll listen to the voice of the workers to determine what we need to accomplish our jobs out on the roadways.

“That’s why I believe I’m the better candidate. I have all this knowledge and it needs to be put to use for the betterment of Rogers County.”