Tribune reporter Greg Lower is writing previews for candidates facing off in Tuesday’s primary election.
This is the first election for a challenger in the Neosho County Commission race.
Mark Ping is running against incumbent Gail Klaassen for the 3rd District seat and against the other candidate, Eddie Rosenberger.
Ping said he wants as many registered Republicans as possible to vote. With no Democrat having filed for the general election, the seat will be decided in the primary.
“The single vote means something this time,” Ping said.
He said he wants to appeal to everybody.
“The taxpayer dollar to me is top priority,” he said.
Ping said he has watched commission meetings online and in person and thinks Klaassen spends money too easily. He said he wants to be conservative with spending.
“Let’s step back and take a look,” he said.
He pointed to the purchase of a $61,000 piece of equipment at the July 16 meeting and said there should have been more bids. Ping said tax dollars are hard to come by.
““We just need to watch our money more closely,” he said.
Ping said he was neither in favor nor opposed to the Neosho Ridge Wind project, but he praised the group of concerned citizens for looking out for the county.
“The windmill got voted through way too hastily,” he said, adding that the commission should have waited a year and said if the builder, Apex, had to pay fines, it would mean something to the company.
Ping has worked for Monarch Cement for 23 years and said his shift will work well to be flexible for meetings.
His wife, Connie Ping, currently works in the county payroll office and previously ran unsuccessfully for county treasurer, but Ping said he can abstain from voting when necessary to avoid conflicts. They have been married 28 years and have one daughter.
He said he has seen the county outsource jobs when it has its own resources.
“Neosho County needs to take care of itself,” Ping said.
On the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, he said people should be able to choose whether to wear face masks and it helps other people feel better to see masks worn.