The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

July 23, 2010

4 seeking Alfalfa County District 3 commission seat

By Kasey Fowler, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

James H. Simpson

James H. Simpson has been Alfalfa County District 3 commissioner for four years and wants to continue in the post.

A Republican, Simpson will face Ray Walker, Roger Nichols and Raymond Stonehocker, all of Helena, in Tuesday’s primary election. If no candidate receives a majority of the vote, a runoff for the top two vote-getters will be Aug. 24. The winner will assume the post since no Democrat or independent candidates filed for office.

Attempts to contact Stonehocker were unsuccessful.

During his current term, Simpson has accomplished several tasks and hopes to continue his work.

“In the last three and a half years we finished our seventh new bridge and we did major overhaul on two other bridges,” he said. “We have purchased $38,000 worth of gravel to put on the roads. That is enough for 53 miles, but because of rain it has been used in spotting and fixing up damaged roads. We have only been able to do 17 miles because of other damage, bridges washing out and pipes washing out.”

According to Simpson because of changes, the county can gravel a road in about two days.

Previous to becoming a county commissioner, Simpson held several jobs, including teaching school for 20 years.

“I worked for the county for nine years before becoming county commissioner in 2007. I ran the back hoe, track hoe, welding, lots of things for the county,” he said.

Simpson also farms and ranches in the area. His education includes a master’s degree in agriculture from Oklahoma State University.

Roger Nichols

Roger Nichols has been a county commissioner for Alfalfa County and is ready to try his hand at it again.

Nichols is vying for the District 3 position in Tuesday’s Republican primary with three others, James H. Simpson, Ray Walker and Raymond Stonehocker, all of Helena. If no candidate receives a majority of the vote, a runoff for the top two vote-getters will be Aug. 24. The winner will assume the post since no Democrat or independent candidates filed for office.

“I was a county commissioner for 12 years, four years ago. I do a little farming on the side but I am mostly retired,” he said. “I am going back out to meet the public.”

Before becoming a county commissioner and retiring, except for farming, Nichols ran a gas station and garage in Helena. Those who know Nichols have asked him to become involved in the county government again.

“I had several patrons around come to me and ask me to run,” Nichols said. “When I was in there before I enjoyed the work. I always got along with people real well.”

Nichols would like to work on several projects.

“I think roads and bridges are the main things, getting them up to date. It is probably the biggest area,” he said. “The courthouse is a big project that is not happening because of lack of funds. I want to put in hard work and see if we can get it done.”

Nichols is a Helena High School graduate.

Ray Walker

Ray Walker grew up and has lived in the Helena area his entire life.

He now would like to serve the county he grew up in as commissioner for District 3.

Walker is running in Tuesday’s Republican primary against James H. Simpson, Roger Nichols and Raymond Stonehocker, all of Helena. If no candidate receives a majority of the vote, a runoff for the top two vote-getters will be Aug. 24. The winner will assume the post since no Democrat or independent candidates filed for office.

Walker graduated from Helena-Goltry High School. Shortly after high school, he began working for Alfalfa County.

“This is my 34th year working for the county. I’ve run pretty much every piece of equipment they have,” he said.

Walker said his time working for the county gives him insight into how to be a good county commissioner.

“I think things should be done a little differently,” he said. “We need to remove more trees and gravel and fix more road. We need to get all the grants we can get because we are a poor county.”

Walker said since he has been around the area his whole life, it may help him.

“I want to help the county as a whole,” he said. “I would like to help the people of Alfalfa County. I’ve lived here all my life and everybody knows me around here.”