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March 18, 2014

Yale town commission race pits youth against experience

YALE, Okla. — Two candidates running for city commissioner are preparing for the Yale election April 1.

Terry Baker, a Yale resident since 1980, has held the position of commissioner seat No. 5 for 16 years off and on since the early 1980s. He is running for re-election in the same position.

“My work’s not done,” Baker said. “There’s just a lot of things that need to be done. I want to get our water issues and utility issues taken care of before I get off.”

The city received a $100,000 grant last year and used it to do work on the electric system. Baker said Yale will get another $125,000 this year to finish upgrading the system.

Opposing candidate Brian Porter Jr. agrees there are issues the city needs to deal with.

“We have a small community and not a lot of industry so we need to find a way to make it as lucrative as possible,” Porter said.

Porter was raised in Yale and gradated in 2009 as valedictorian of his class. He graduated from Oklahoma State University with a bachelor’s degree in business in 2013. Porter works as assistant vice president of American Heritage Bank and serves as lieutenant for the Yale Fire Department.

If elected, Porter says he wants to bring a younger point of view to the commission.

“My generation, we’re getting to the point where we’re looking to invest in the town,” Porter said. “There’s a lot of things against it in a way, and I’m eager to do my part and make it a better place.”

Porter and Baker agree the pool needs to be reopened. It was closed because of a water supply shortage from Lone Chimney Lake.

Baker said he has learned a lot since serving as a commissioner.

“I have the experience to do the job,” Baker said. “I’ve learned there’s a whole lot you can’t do. That’s why a lot of the negatives get thrown at the city commission when they’re hands are tied.”

Although Porter recognizes he would have a learning curve to fulfill his first year on the commission, he said he is ready for that opportunity.

“I’ve got a young son, and I’d love him to grow up in the same town I did and have the same benefits I did,” Porter said.

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