Jones says he'll stand on his record

Robert Smith
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

District 1 County Commissioner Randall Jones said last week he will stand squarely on his record as he campaigns for re-election in 2022.

"People can make their decision on my record," Jones said. He noted that he has brought more than $14 million in improvement projects to his district in three years. He is finishing his first term as a commissioner.

Jones is a Republican and may have more than one opponent in the 2022 party primary.

Jones is not new to county road maintenance and county government, however. He said that he has been working to improve Osage County roads for more than 40 years, both as an employee of the county and as an employee of the Short Oil Company. Prior to becoming a commissioner, Jones had already worked for Osage County for more than two decades, including 10 years as a road superintendent and first deputy commissioner.

"I have worked on grants for all the towns and all the schools," Jones said of his record as a commissioner. He pointed out that county revenue has decreased due to the COVID-19 pandemic and his road crews have continued to do more work.

"We have done more with less," Jones said, adding that he will not ask residents to pay any more in taxes than they already pay. "I will not ask the people to give us more money. So, I have done more with less. I have proven that."

Jones recalled that when he served as chairman of the Board of County Commissioners, he asked departments of county government to return unused funding. The result was some $700,000 being turned back in, he said.

"That's the only time that's ever been done," Jones said.

Jones said he will not put out campaign signs until after the end-of-year holidays.

"I just think that's rude," Jones said of early sign distribution. "But I will run and I will have signs when appropriate."

Jones said that he has been able to bring to completion two projects on which progress had become stalled until he got them moving again. One was a bridge project near Barnsdall, and the other was the Kelly Avenue project in the McCord area. The Kelly Avenue project, the value of which was about $6 million, had been stalled through the terms of several commissioners prior to him and had even been moved, through redistricting a decade ago, from District 3 to District 1, he said.

"I worked two years solid to get it going," Jones said. "I was the one that cleared all the hurdles."

There will be a ribbon-cutting soon to mark the completion of the Kelly Avenue project, Jones said.

Two bridge projects should also be getting started soon -- the Caney River Bridge project south of Elgin, and another bridge project that will benefit residents of the Nelagoney area, he said.

Another important project -- one that Jones hopes will begin in the spring of 2022 -- is the 21st Street project in Pawhuska. That project involves a partnership between District 1 and the Osage Nation Roads Department, he said.

The road/bridge projects on which Jones and other county commissioners work are frequently partnerships between Osage County and other units of government -- whether municipal, tribal or state. Completing them in a timely manner requires careful coordination and diligence.