The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Election 2010

July 16, 2010

James Simunek runs for Garfield County Commissioner

ENID — James Simunek is hoping for a promotion.

Simunek currently is road foreman for District 3 Garfield County Commissioner Scott Savage, who has announced his retirement.

After seven years at the county, Simunek believes he has the knowledge to do the job the way District 3 residents want it done.

He is seeking the Republican nomination for the post against Larry Mack, of Bison. The winner of the July 27 primary will win the seat since no Democrat or independent filed for the post.

“I’ve worked closely with Scott and I have the interest and experience enough to serve District 3,” he said.

The challenge to the next commissioner will be the county budget.

Due to the state of the economy, the county’s budget will be cut like every other budget, he said.

“We have to be good stewards and work with what we have,” he said.

His priorities will be to continue to fund the jail and keep up roads and deteriorating blacktop in the district.

Currently, the only economically feasible process is to keep patching the roads, he said. There may be some tough decisions to make in the future, he said.

Even simple processes like chip and seal can run $15,000 to $18,000 per mile, he said, and resurfacing jobs are not feasible in the present economy.

“They are too expensive, probably $40,000 to $50,000 a mile, depending on how thick you make it,” Simunek said.

District 3 has 15 employees, and most of them have been county employees for many years.

Simunek called them knowledgeable and good workers and said they will make the job easier.

“If I had the money, blacktopping would be my No. 1 goal. I can’t do that, I can only repair them now,” he said.

Operating the jail, county health department and the courthouse are among the most expensive county functions, but are necessary,  he said. They affect the majority of the people in District 3. Repairing roads is one of  his greatest priorities.

“Everyone deserves a way in and out of their home,” he said. “County commissioners must be honest. People must know that if you can’t do something you will say so.”

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Election 2010