Swearing in

KEVIN HARVISON | Staff photo

Special District Judge Mike Hogan, right, swears county officials into new four-year terms in office Wednesday at the Pittsburg County Courthouse. Pictured, from left, are District 3 Pittsburg County Commissioner Ross Selman, County Assessor Michelle Fields, Pittsburg County Excise Board members James Shropshire and Boyd Cable, District 1 Commissioner Charlie Rogers and County Excise Board Chairman Matt McGowan.

Pittsburg County officials say they are looking forward to serving four more years after they were sworn in for their new terms in office.

District 3 County Commissioner Ross Selman, District 1 Commissioner Charlie Rogers and County Assessor Michelle Fields gathered at the Pittsburg County Courthouse on Wednesday for the swearing-in ceremony conducted by Special Judge Mike Hogan.

Pittsburg County Excise Board Chairman Matt McGowan, along with Excise Board members Boyd Cable and James Shropshire wewre also sworn-in for new terms.

Selman, like the other county elected officials sworn into office Wednesday, is a Democrat. He had a tight race in November, finally besting Republican challenger Trent Myers by a 13-vote margin. The Pittsburg County Election Board held a recount and also conducted a hearing into election irregularities alleged by Myers, but Selman’s 13-vote margin held fast.

“It was God’s will,” Selman said a few minutes before he was sworn in for his new term. “I try to follow and do the Lord’s leadership in everything I try to do.”

He was philosophical regarding the outcome of the hard-fought election.

“It was supposed to happen the way it happened,” he said, saying the election was closer than he had hoped. Selman said he wanted to thank all the people who helped him throughout his time in office and his campaign.

“We will keep our nose to the grindstone to try and improve and make things safer and better for the people,” Selman said. “My door is always open; I’m here for the people.”

Rogers, the District 1 county commissioner, won his first full year in office during the 2018 Primary Election Runoff with fellow Democrat Mike Grivette, after the two were the top vote-getters in the June Primary Election. Although they changed leads several times during the August runoff, Rogers prevailed by a final count of 761-698. With no other political parties fielding a candidate in the District 1 race, Rogers’ runoff win sealed the election for him.

It marked the second election in a relatively brief period of time for Rogers. He previously ran in 2017 as a candidate to fill the unexpired term of his grandfather, former District 1 Commissioner Gene Rogers, who had to resign from the District 1 post due to health issues.

Charlie Rogers said he’s ready to serve for awhile without having an upcoming election in the near future.

“The whole time I’ve been having to run,” he said.

Rogers plans to complete some projects began by his grandfather, when Gene Rogers still served as commissioner.

“I’ve got the Blocker Road project,” Charlie Rogers said, noting he’s committed to finishing it. He also said there are plans to redo Adamson Road, all the way from State Highway 31east of Krebs to Twelfth Street in Hartshorne.

Pittsburg County Assessor Michelle Fields, who had been filling the unexpired term of former County Assessor Cathy Haynes, is also ready to begin serving in her own right.

“I’m very excited; I’m looking forward to it,” Fields said. “I’ll serve the constituents of Pittsburg County to the best of my ability.”

McGown’s also ready to begin his second four-year term on the county excise board.

“I like it.” McGowan said. “It keeps you with the pulse of Pittsburg County. I enjoy that part of it.”

Cable said he’s also ready to serve another four years.

Pittsburg County Treasurer Jennifer Lenox-Hackler won a four-year term when she was unopposed for the post. However, she and other county treasurers across Oklahoma won’t be sworn in for their new four-year term in July, because of a state law designed to prevent unexperienced treasurers from taking office during the peak of the ad valorem property tax season.

Lenox-Hackler began serving her to complete the unexpired term of former treasurer Donna Scrivner, who retired before her term had been completed. Lenox-Hackler filed as a candidate for the office in the June Democratic Primary, then won a four-year term in her own right when she remained unopposed for the office.

Hogan swore the officers in for their new terms in his capacity as special judge. He’s not set to begin his own four-year term as the new District 18 district judge for Pittsburg and McIntosh counties on Jan. 14. That’s also when Pittsburg County Associate District Judge Tim Mills is set to begin his new four-year term in office.

Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com

Contact James Beaty by email at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com.

James Beaty is senior editor at the McAlester News-Capital