Republicans Ruth Stover and Chris Reding will face off in Tuesday’s primary to decide the next District 2 representative on the Payne County Commission. There is no Democrat challenger.
The Stillwater League of Women Voters collected Reding and Stover’s responses on questions about their candidacy.
What in your background qualifies you to be a County Commissioner?
Reding: I have over 25 years of experience managing people and facilities. As chairman of Payne County Republicans, I have worked with elected officials at every level.
Stover: I have worked in public service my entire life. I am able and willing to listen to all the people of Payne County. I have worked 15 years in the County Clerk’s office and have the knowledge necessary to step into the role of County Commissioner.
What issues could be jointly solved by the Stillwater City Council and County Commission working together?
Stover: One issue I think we could work together on is recycling. I would like to work with the city and combine our efforts to recycle ink or toner cartridges that the county uses. I would also like to explore what roads in the county can be paved using both city and county funds together. I would like to see that issue expanded to District 1 if they have roads that they share with the city.
Reding: I will work to encourage equitable development in the areas where the interests of both the city and county intersect. I will partner with the City Council and other county commissioners to build consensus with regard to roads construction and infrastructure and will work to pursue and increase economic development opportunities in the city and county.
What conservation measures can you implement in the county facilities?
Reding: We can work with OSU green and sustainable construction programs to integrate technology as facilities are remodeled and upgraded. We can adopt new technologies in lighting and heat, ventilation, and cooling controls when it makes economic sense to do so. We should also look at upgrading the phone system in the courthouse to reduce the number of lines needed, which would decrease cost and improve service. We should also conserve money by utilizing all available resources, like the Defense Resource Management Office, to acquire needed equipment at very reduced or no cost.
Stover: In the past, the city of Stillwater helped the county by taking scrap metal furniture to a recycling center for us. I would like to ask the city what it can do to recycle obsolete computer equipment. I would like to have a place in the county where we can collect and dispose of electronic equipment in an environmentally responsible manner. Another issue is the county’s use of diesel or gasoline vehicles for county work. I would like to explore converting or expanding our fleet to (compressed natural gas) vehicles in the future where applicable.
What is your vision for the future of the Payne County Expo Center?
Stover: We need to make fiscally responsible decisions when it comes to the Expo Center. We have made great strides in the expansion and improvements to the Expo in recent years. With the economic times that we are in right now, I would like to see us maintain what we have. One vision for the future might be to pave a bicycle path around the grounds to increase bike tourism in the county. The county has some areas on the west side of the Expo that might make an amphitheater.
Reding: I think we have a great Expo Center, and it serves our county well. I would like to see an enhanced marketing strategy so our building would draw even more usage, bringing more dollars into Payne County. We might consider adding to and upgrading the buildings to the level of a true convention center, and maybe adding an arena big enough for competitive rodeo, to bring even more economic opportunity.