NEWS

Hughs wants to serve the people like his dad

Robert Smith
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

Clay Hughs of Pawhuska is doing this out of love for his late father, and for the benefit of the local people, he explained. Hughs said he has decided that he will be a candidate in 2022 for the District 1 seat on the Osage County Board of County Commissioners.

He intends to be a candidate in the Republican Party primary.

Hughs, 37, grew up in Pawhuska and finished at Pawhuska High School. His father was Harold Wayne Hughs Jr., who passed away in 2017 at the age of 53. Harold Hughs served the public by working as an investigator for the Osage County Sheriff's Office. He also was chief of police in Pawhuska and Wynona, Clay Hughs said.

Clay Hughs said he learned from his father's experiences that politics can be nasty.

"I learned that politics is a pretty serious business," he said.

"The people are the main thing," Hughs said, emphasizing that he wants to serve the public like his father did. "I just feel like there's so much more that can be done."

He focused on the Osage County Fairgrounds as a county asset that he thinks is not being used to bring a maximum amount of benefit to the population.

"To me, that's a gold mine that's not being used like it should be" Hughs said. "There is money there to be made."

Hughs said he would like to see the Fairgrounds used to provide "more stuff to do for the families of Osage County." He would also like to see the annual Osage County Free Fair grow.

"It seems like there's a lot more families in Pawhuska, and they are wanting things to do," Hughs said.

Hughs acknowledged that road maintenance is a big deal. He recalled driving recently via the Okesa Road on his way to Woolaroc.

"It was pretty bad and it's been like that for years," Hughs said.

Hughs said he worked almost 10 years in the oilfields and is familiar with a lot of the roads in the area. He recalled that, even before his decision to run for commissioner, residents were talking to him about the condition of roads.

"I had people actually come up to me and tell me about Foraker Road before I was actually running for commissioner," Hughs said. He clarified that he sees the commissioner election as an opportunity to be chosen to serve.

"I have no political motives. I am not a politician by any means. I don't have an agenda. I don't have any motive," Hughs said. "It's got to be more about the people."

"We need somebody who is more open-minded," Hughs said, explaining that he has always been able to get along with people of varying viewpoints.

Hughs recalled that incumbent District 1 Commissioner Randall Jones had been critical of candidates putting out campaign signs even before the holidays, and Hughs questioned why Jones had a sign in Pawhuska's Christmas parade.

Four candidates have expressed an interest to date in seeking the District 1 seat on the county board -- Hughs; John Brazee of Pawhuska; Jones; and Dr. Everett Piper. All have indicated they intend to run in the Republican Party primary.