Oct. 22—District 1 Commissioner Ken Doke kicked off his campaign for a third term Thursday night, attracting scores of supporters that included an array of elected officials.
Voters elected Doke in 2014 as the first Republican anyone at the time could remember to fill the District 1 post. He campaigned on a platform that included economic development and an increased focus on the county's finances.
"We balanced the budget for the first time in a long time — for nearly a decade — and we haven't had a deficit budget since," Doke said, crediting the help of District 3 Commissioner Kenny Payne for that accomplishment. "That was a major accomplishment for us."
Doke touted the passage earlier this year of $20 million general obligation limited tax bonds that will be issued by the Muskogee County Economic Authority. The industrial development initiative is expected to provide long-term, fixed-rate loans to new or expanding companies.
He recited some successes with the county's roads and bridges infrastructure, noting the number of structurally deficient bridges in Muskogee County have been cut in half during the past eight years. He estimated there may be 30 to 40 bridges in the county still classified as structurally deficient.
"A lot of those things that we talked about back then are either done or they're in the process," Doke said. "We just need at least one more term to finish up some of the things we have been talking about."
Sen. Kim David, a Republican from Porter who plans to campaign for a seat on the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, said Doke "knows how to get things done." David said she has worked with Doke on a number of issues important to area residents, and "we're really fortunate to have him."
State Rep. Avery Frix, R-Muskogee, said the partnerships forged by commissioners like Doke and other local officials with state lawmakers are important. He cited the elimination of the proposed U.S. 69 bypass as one example.