Meet the Candidates: Shannon Leatherman

by Jordan Green

Editor’s Note: This is the second of three stories featuring candidates for the office of Kay County District No. 3 commissioner. The election will be April 4. All candidates’ responses have been edited for length and clarity.

With experience in construction and management, Shannon Leatherman said he hopes to improve county infrastructure if elected to the Kay County District No. 3 commissioner’s seat. Here’s what he had to say about his goals if elected.

Q: What would you like voters to know about yourself?

A: I’m a very hard-working individual. I believe there’s no replacement for the hard work. I’m a very simple per son at the end of the day. I love to learn new things, and I love to be around people that are smarter than me. That’s how you learn. I don’t mind working. I like the outdoors. I feel like I’m an honest person at the end of the day, unselfish. Really, I’m ready to go to work for the people. That’s really what I’m about on this deal. I was raised in Braman, Oklahoma, my entire life. I graduated from Braman High School. I attended NOC, took some classes there, and decided I didn’t sit in the classroom well. I was ready to go learn in the real world. I’ve been a Kay County resident my entire life, 48 years.

Q: What will be your main objectives if you’re elected as commissioner?

A: My objectives, first and foremost, would be the maintenance of county roads and bridges. Our first responders – our rural fire departments and our sheriff’s department – making sure we’re competitive on our deputies’ pay, other employees at the county, making sure we’re where we need to be. Some of those things, it’s hard to know until you’re in there where you can be at on things. Our first responders, our deputies, making sure they have the equipment they need. Business, anywhere I can help develop business, keep existing businesses, will be very important. Look for monies in places maybe we haven’t looked before, keeping a good relationship with all the different government entities and departments to try to better our county.

Q: How do you plan to improve county roads and bridges?

A: We’ve got to get material. It seems like we’re lacking material on some of the county roads. We’ve got to get back and, if we have the monies, get in a good cover layer on these roads. We’ve got to source materials in some places that we may have not for a while. Efficiencies in doing that process are very important. If we’ve got a source on the south end of the county for sand or rock, we use that on the south end instead of trucking all the way to the north end. We need to have sources for shale and aggregates and stuff on the north end if possible and anywhere in between to keep hauls to a minimum. It’s not just fuel. It’s being efficient with time.

Q: What skills, traits and leadership experience would you bring to the office?

A: I’ve managed for Fortune 500 companies, and I’ve managed for family-owned companies of decent size. I’ve had a lot of diversity. Those two type operations are very different. I worked in flour milling for 13 years and did lots of procurement of grain from local producers, cooperatives and merchandising companies. I’ve spent hours and hours on equipment. When I managed the pre-cast concrete facility, I was responsible for day-to-day operations of everything: purchasing aggregates, sand, rock, Portland cement, the add mixtures and chemicals for the concrete. We had 15 semis. We had 25 people I was responsible for on a day-to-day basis. So, I gained a lot of knowledge of construction and dirt work though that time. When I was at the mill, it took 10,000 bushels per day of grain to keep production rolling. I’ve handled millions and millions of dollars for a couple different companies. I’ve just learned a lot. From accounts payable to accounts receivable, payroll, been involved through all those processes while I was at ConAgra and RN Concrete Products, just a very diversified background in things.

Editor's Note: This article was updated to remove the date of the June general election. The general election will not include the county commissioner's race because only Republican candidates filed.