Pauls Valley Democrat
Lifelong Garvin County resident Mike DeArman has for some time had a desire to run for a public office as a way of serving others.
It’s this desire that’s led to the 56-year-old DeArman, who lives just east of Paoli, putting his name in the hat as a candidate for the District 3 county commissioner.
The challenge is daunting as DeArman is going against incumbent Johnny Mann, who is seeking his seventh term in office.
The two will square off during the primary election set for June 24.
Sporting overalls and old straw hat, DeArman is the first to admit he’s just an honest, straight forward country guy who just wants to serve.
He also admits his campaign has nothing to do with Mann or the job he’s done while in office over the past 24 years.
“It was about 10 years ago when I first thought about running for office,” DeArman said. “I didn’t follow through because I had family, girls in college.
“I had a lot going on. I still do have a lot going on, but now I’m in a better position to do this.
“I want to serve the people of District 3 with the best possible service I can. I want to do the right thing.”
Going back a decade DeArman wasn’t thinking about any specific office, maybe a run for a state representative’s post.
His only experience in running for office came when he served two full terms on the Paoli School Board, which ended in 2012.
“This county commissioner thing kind of came into my head a couple of years ago,” he said.
“My experience is not just with trucking but heavy equipment, road work. I thought I had something to give to the community.”
DeArman calls himself a “blue collar” man who has managed his own business for years.
He’s been self employed in trucking and alfalfa hay for the past 20 years plus.
DeArman believes there’s much about that experience that will help make him a good county commissioner.
“I’ve been a foreman over a lot of people. I’ve got experience in handling people, experience in government money,” DeArman said.
“I think I’m a little more down to earth than some other people. I have a different point of view than some of these people you see on ads.
“I think with my experience I would make a good county commissioner.”
According to DeArman, some people he’s talked to thought he was “crazy” to challenge such a longtime incumbent like Mann.
He’s again quick to stress Mann and his record have nothing with his desire to run for office.
“They didn’t think I had a chance to win,” he said. “That’s motivated me even more. It’s a challenge. I’m not a person who will shy away from a challenge.
“I realize I’m on the outside looking in. The roads in our district are pretty good. Mr. Mann has done a pretty good job.
“I don’t even know Mr. Mann. There are no ill feelings toward him. It’s not about what he’s done one way or the other. There’s no way I can match Mr. Mann’s experience, 24 years in office, but I can give people a choice.
“I just thought I had something to give the county.
DeArman has spent his entire life in the Paoli and Wynnewood areas. He and his wife Charolette have two daughters.
Ironically enough DeArman’s daughters, their husbands, various other relatives and even his own mother can’t vote for him in this election.
The reason is simple — all those folks just barely live in another district, which starts east of Paoli. That won’t stop them from helping on his campaign.
“I have two daughters and two sons-in-law who live right across the street but they can’t vote for me,” he said.
District 3 covers none of Paoli but parts of Pauls Valley, most of Wynnewood and all of Stratford.