By Kelly Rogers
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Republican candidates for District 3 Cleveland County commissioner met Tuesday afternoon with members of the Cleveland County GOP Luncheon Club to discuss upcoming primary elections.
With just three weeks until primary elections June 24, candidates Blaine Nice, Daryl Covey, Mike Reynolds and Dr. Harold Haralson discussed their platforms through a question-and-answer session with attendees.
Dave Spaulding regulated questions and responses, giving each candidate an opportunity to illustrate the angles of their campaigns.
Spaulding opened with a question of work ethics within the community of commissioners. With a history of turmoil in the county commissioners office in recent times, Spaulding asked candidates how they planned to work together with fellow commissioners to be successful in the community.
“It’ll be about our decisions,” Reynolds said. “It won’t be personal.”
While Reynolds argued for the importance of asserting agreement and disagreement under the appropriate circumstances, focusing on the individual process of being a part of the commissioners, Covey stressed the importance of what he said are three important themes of his campaign; facilitation, collaboration and communication.
“It’s about respect and trust,” Covey said. “We’ve got to work well together.”
With recent damage from natural disasters, Spaulding introduced yet another pressing topic, asking the candidates what they could do to increase awareness and preparedness for these disasters, such as drought, wildfire and tornadoes. Spaulding mentioned the importance of addressing the abundance and eradication efforts of red cedar trees, and the candidates ran with it.
“This is a matter of water, just as much as it is fire,” Haralson said. “We’ve got to make sure we are providing the heavy equipment needed to fight fires.”
A common theme all candidates agreed on was the importance of supporting local first responders and ensuring they are well equipped to deal with natural disasters. Covey argued that looking at what other counties are doing to be prepared and improve their responses could inspire Cleveland County to adapt the efficiency of its own county efforts.
Nice said the efforts to identify problem areas in the community are efforts the area is catching up on, especially those specific to roads and bridges. With the current Lexington-Purcell bridge in its final stages of repair, Spaulding sparked conversation on how to avoid accumulating huge repairs like these in the future.
Haralson said it’s all about prevention efforts.
“We have to think ahead to prevent damage and maintain those facilities like the bridge,” he said.
Haralson pushed the importance of keeping up with the needs of vital infrastructures and said it can be done by building a plan that will benefit the county as a whole.
“It’s important to consider the synergy we can establish by working together,” Covey said, regarding the roads and bridges. “It takes a team.”
After the forum between Spaudling and the candidates concluded, the floor opened up to the audience and individual candidates.
Reynolds brought up Nice’s contributions to local democratic campaigns, asking Nice one question: How are you going to support Republican values while supporting Democratic campaigns?
Nice responded to Reynold’s inquiries, firmly stating his place in the Republican party.
“As I see it, if you’re elected, you have to represent everyone,” Nice said. “Whether or not I help them does not determine if I uphold my own Republican values.”
Spaulding encouraged community members to be involved in the election process and vote.
“Make your vote count every time you get an opportunity,” Spaulding said.
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