By Robert Flippo
In a move that had been rumored for some time, County Commissioner Phil Carson officially stated he will not run for reelection in 2014.
Carson, in his third term as the commissioner of District 1, which includes Piedmont, Okarche and parts of El Reno and Yukon. Since joining the county in 2002, he has worked hard for the betterment of his district and Canadian County as a whole but now, he says, it is time to move on.
“I think maybe I’ll let someone else try their hand at it,” Carson said.
Carson may be ready to move on, but he is proud of the work he has been able to accomplish as a commissioner, specifically in regard to maintaining roads and the addition of a new county jail.
“We did a lot with the roads and bridges in the unincorporated land,” Carson said.
According to the County Commissioner website, Carson has been responsible for getting over 45 new bridges built within his district. Carson is a lifelong resident of Canadian County, which gives him an understanding of the needs of his constituents that has been reflected in the work he has done for the county.
“I have the greatest respect for him and I’m sorry to see him go,” Jim Crosby, Piedmont City Manager, who has worked under Carson in both Piedmont and Yukon, said. “I’ve been in this business a long time and he has been by far one of the best county commissioners I’ve had the pleasure of working with.”
Crosby said Carson’s dedication to the community and his constituents is evident in the work he has done for Piedmont specifically. In 2010 after the census showed Piedmont’s population numbers surpassed the 5,000 mark, the county’s obligations to the city lessened somewhat and the city had to take over responsibility for the roads.
However, Carson made effort to work with the city administration to make sure it could handle that responsibility.
“When we had to take over the roads, we didn’t have any equipment and he helped us buy a grader from the county,” Crosby said.
Since then, Carson has remained instrumental in helping Piedmont with its roads. During the last big rains to hit Piedmont, two roads washed out. Carson and his road crews were Johnny-on-the-spot, said Crosby, working to get the roads open again as quickly as possible. Crosby said Carson also helped work out the new pavement that went in on 164th st and Waterloo Rd.
Although he has announced his intention to retire at the end of his term, Carson still has over a year left in office, and that is plenty of time to do some more good for his district.
“I’m going to continue to work for the safety of traveling citizens and to protect the unincorporated land,” Carson said.