Archive for Wednesday, June 16, 2004

After win 20 years ago, Oroke again seeking commission seat

June 16, 2004

Twenty years ago, Dean Oroke was elected to the Leavenworth County Commission.

And he's tried several times to return to the commission, but those bids were defeated each time.

Now, he's giving it another try.

The 59-year-old builder and developer, running as a Republican, joins five other GOP candidates who will face off in the Aug. 3 primary election. The general election is set for Nov. 2.

"Taxes are the number one issue with me," Oroke said.

He's concerned about skyrocketing property valuations accompanied by mill levy increases.

"Where is the money going?" Oroke wonders.

"I know employment has increased in the county," he said. "There are more departments, there are more services. I know fuel, utilities and insurance, all of those have drastically increased. I think we have to reach a happy median on the taxes. We can't continue at the rate we're going."

At the same time, Oroke wants to focus on improving the county's roads and bridges. The county must develop more detailed plans for road improvements, he said.

"Our current rock roads are in poor, poor condition," he said.

In addition, Oroke supports hiring a county manager, but not increasing the budget to do so, and he wants the county to participate in parks and recreation.

"We don't have county parks," he said. "We have a state park. The county has the funding mechanism to do it."

Oroke, who was born in Oskaloosa, moved in 1950 to Basehor, where he attended schools. He and his wife, Beverly, moved to rural Tonganoxie in 1968. The couple have three children, Debbie Himpel, Curtis Oroke and Carey Oroke, and seven grandchildren.

He's served on numerous statewide, county and local boards and commissions and has completed courses in disaster planning and land appraisal.

Oroke previously served a four-year term as a county commissioner, from 1984 to 1988. He also ran unsuccessfully in 1988 as a Republican; in 1992 as a Democrat; and in 1996 as a Republican, according to the county clerk's office.

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