Archive for Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Dean Oroke: He’ll represent everyone

October 27, 2004

After securing the GOP nomination by emerging from a crowded field of candidates in the August primary, Tonganoxie resident Dean Oroke has a simple strategy as he campaigns for the third district Leavenworth County Commission seat, a seat he once held.

Oroke said he hopes Republican voters who didn't vote for him in the primary will lean his way on Tuesday. And, because voters tend to ignore party lines in county commission races, Oroke said he wouldn't mind snagging a few from the Democratic side either.

Party: Republican

Age: 59

Address: 17395 Chieftain Rd. Tonganoxie

"I've got broad support," he said. "There's been a tremendous amount of cross over votes coming from Republicans.

"But, a lot (of what determines voting) is based on the individual and their past experiences. I know I'm going to take care of everybody I represent, Republican or Democrat, whether they vote for me or not."

Oroke a county commissioner from 1985 to 1989, will try to regain the position he once held. Democrat Jerry Willburn is the lone road block. Oroke, a Republican during his four years in office, lost a re-election bid in 1989 to Democrat Kevin Reardon; in 1994 he crossed party lines and ran on the Democratic ticket and won the primary before eventually losing in the general election.

Oroke is seeking to replace Commissioner Joe Daniels Jr., who is not seeking re-election after one term.

Oroke said he believes the current county commission hasn't done enough to manage an ever-changing southern Leavenworth County.

"Leavenworth County is growing so fast and I don't feel the present commission is doing enough to manage the growth," he said.

Oroke, a self-employed home builder who currently is working on a residential development in Tonganoxie, said his platform includes:

  • Construction and maintenance of roads.
  • Expansion of recreational opportunities.
  • Planning for and managing new residential and commercial development.

Roads are being neglected in the county and Oroke vows to change that should he be elected.

"The maintenance of roads aren't what I expect or desire from the county," he said.

He added that Leavenworth County needs a complete overhaul of its current traffic grid system and thorough road review, a job past studies, and experience serving in county government and the Tonganoxie Planning Commission, makes Oroke suited to complete.

He also feels recreational opportunities in the county, Basehor and Tonganoxie specifically, are lacking. "We're making all these subdivisions, but the recreation end is lacking -- our facilities are maxed out," Oroke said.

A measure he favors is taking money garnered from a countywide one-cent sales tax, which is slated for voter renewal next year, and diverting it toward parks and recreational departments.

While his is a familiar name, Oroke hasn't relied on his past service history to carry him through to a victorious Election Day. Oroke said he's done limited door-to-door visits, attended forums, mailed out campaign information and advertised in local newspapers.

A swell of support stemming from both his familiar name and past experience, Oroke believes, will carry him to the Leavenworth County Courthouse beginning Jan. 10, the day new elected officials are sworn in.

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