GARY LEE COLLINS
Personal information: My wife, Nancy, and I (celebrating 48 years in August) operate a farm in Dora where I’ve lived most of my life. Our daughters, Renee and Lindsay, live nearby. We attend Needmore Church of God.
Employment: I am the current Eastern District Commissioner. I have served our county for 26 years, including four years as presiding commissioner. With the presiding and western commissioners, I am responsible for building and maintaining the county budget. I also supervise 10-11 Road and Bridge Department employees, monitor upkeep on graders, trucks and equipment, maintain funds to keep our recycling center open, and serve on several advisory boards that support the county.
Education: I am a Dora High School graduate and have 520 hours of required training through the Missouri Association of Counties with additional training provided at annual conferences.
Biggest challenges, new ideas: Our biggest challenges are budget funds, FEMA paperwork and keeping our recycling center open. We have been fortunate to receive FEMA funds after numerous weather-related disaster declarations in recent years, but applying for those funds and working with FEMA is challenging and time-consuming. I have worked diligently to keep our recycling center open. The good Lord has helped us through difficult times; I couldn’t do anything without Him.
How will you keep roads in good shape and citizens happy? I am very thankful to have a dedicated Road and Bridge crew that takes great pride in their work. Whether it’s a holiday, the middle of the night, or in pouring rain, they are always there to help keep our county roads passable. They do their best to keep up with grading routes, hauling gravel, repairing roads and managing maintenance. We continue to improve and build up county roads by hauling in extra base rock. It’s impossible to please everyone, but I have an open-door policy and always listen to citizens’ comments and concerns. Even when we differ, we can work together to accomplish good things for the county.
What distinguishes you from your opponent? I have 26 years of experience working in county government in addition to a lifetime of operating a family farm. I know how to build roads, write and maintain a budget, purchase equipment and parts, and employ a dedicated crew. I know how to protect the tax dollars that fund our county’s general revenue and Road and Bridge budgets. Serving God first, I do this job as I live my life: with respect, morals and integrity. I try to treat people as I want to be treated, honestly and fairly.
Goal you hope to accomplish? Without changing the natural beauty and values of our way of life, if re-elected, I will continue to seek any available opportunities that help businesses grow and move into Ozark County so we will be even more appealing to our younger generations to keep our workforce here.