The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Campaigns and Politics

July 18, 2008

Voters to elect Ottawa County commissioner, Commerce mayor

By Joe Hadsall

jhadsall@joplinglobe.com

MIAMI, Okla. — Ottawa County voters in Oklahoma’s primary election on July 29 will elect a new county commissioner for District 2.

Commerce voters will elect a mayor. Mayor Kenneth Duboise died while in office.

County Commission

Democratic incumbent Kenneth Palmer will run against Gary Wyrick in the primary election. The winner will run unopposed in the November general election, virtually assured of election.

The annual salary for the position is $32,000. Commissioners serve four-year terms.

Palmer, 63, is a construction-equipment company owner and has served as District 2 commissioner since 2004. The Miami resident has an associate degree from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M; College in Miami.

Palmer said his top priority would be to monitor the local, fuel-tax-based economy.

“As people slow down driving, there is less money to work with,” Palmer said. “We’ll have to make every move count, and hire good people to get more work done.”

Palmer cited his experience as why he should be re-elected. He said he has years of experience in construction work, monitoring large jobs and owning equipment.

“We have already hired a lot of good people and bought good equipment,” Palmer said. “We have also paid off most of our indebtedness over the last four years, so we’re in good shape.”

Wyrick, 56, is a truck driver for a Minnesota-based company and worked as a road foreman for the county for 11 years. The Wyandotte resident has a degree from Wyandotte High School.

Wyrick said his top priority would be looking at financial matters, and ensuring that rural fire departments get back on track financially.

“We need to keep on top of things instead of letting go of them,” Wyrick said. “Finances need to be watched monthly.”

Wyrick cited his willingness to listen and work full-time as why he should be elected. If elected, he said he will quit his truck-driving job.

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