By Everett Brazil, III
The Newkirk Herald Journal
NEWKIRK — Jason Shanks has served Newkirk on the Board of Commissioners for six years, helping to move the county forward in civic service. The Nov. 3 General Election is in just over a month, and he is seeking community votes to be able to continue to serve Newkirk on the county level.
Shanks took office in April 2014, representing Newkirk as District Two Commissioner.
Shanks hails from Alva, Okla., and met his wife, Newkirk native Kim Shafer in college at Northwestern Oklahoma State University, and they moved to Newkirk after the birth of their first son, Shafer, in 2011.
Shanks sought civic service as a way to support the community, both for his family as well as his experiences in engineering.
“First of all, this was to provide for my family; secondly, I felt that my agriculture business degree, and my background as a bridge inspector, provided me the qualifications to serve the public,” he said. “As serving the public is what we all do in some capacity, I was fortunate enough to be elected as your District Two Commissioner.”
Although it was his first role in civic service, he has plenty of other experience serving the community on other boards, including the Northern Oklahoma Development Authority-NORTPO board, Oklahoma Cooperative Circuit Engineering Board Eight, Alva, a past president of the Oklahoma Hereford Association and Newkirk Main Street economic vitality committee.
Many projects have been undertaken under Shanks’ tenure, with both road and bridge projects, partially funded through the Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s County Improvements for Roads and Bridges (CIRB) program, as well as the Kaw Nation. Those include 18 new bridges on county roads, each more than 20 ft., as well as road paving, including 1.75 miles on Peckham Road, two miles of 106 Lane and six miles of chip and seal on Union Street and Tower Road, near Ponca City, Shanks said.
“All this was able to be performed with our CIRB monies, and the majority of funds were allocated through the Kaw Nation,” he said. “We at District Two respect immensely our working relationship through the Kaw Nation.”
A second project is the initiation of the Kay County Courthouse Annex and Extension building, which will move all offices outside the court system out of the Courthouse to expand and rehabilitate the facility, a project that was planned for a number of years.
Voters approved a sales tax to fund the construction.
“The new Annex and OSU buildings are underway, and moving along nicely, and we’re waiting to start the Courthouse rehabilitation project when the new buildings are complete,” he said. “This is all due to Kay County residents supporting tax increase to provide a more pleasing environment while conducting County business.”
Shanks was also able to help negotiate deals with Duke Energy Renewables for the Frontier Windpower II wind farm, currently under construction around Kildare and Newkirk.
“We signed three road use agreements with Duke Energy, which has helped out the local farmers and county and school districts alike,” he said. “With the wind farms, we were able to get roughly 50 miles of upgraded roads throughout our district.”
Outside of major construction projects, routine maintenance takes place daily in District Two.
“Many day-to-day projects, from blading roads to hauling rock, and just general road maintenance, are going on at all times,” he said. “We are always juggling projects to ensure your tax dollars are being spent in the most productive way.”
Shanks would like to be elected to a second term for the chance to continue promoting the Newkirk area.
“I would like to continue producing improvements that we as a district have done for the past six years” he said. “I would like to continue to build more infrastructure through road and bridge projects and continue in with driving for a better Kay County.”
Having already served a term as a county commissioner, Shanks is ready to serve another six years, representing Newkirk.
“Through my experiences as a commissioner, I know the job, and have the mindset and aptitude to accomplish goals to better serve Kay County,” Shanks said. “I am progressive and economic-driven to provide the best oversight so that our crews have the monetary capabilities to fulfill their duties.”