By Conrad Dudderar
“Canadian County – you will be a shining star moving forward – and it’s been nice to be part of it.”
Those parting words were spoken by Marc Hader, participating in his final meeting Dec. 28th as Canadian County’s District 1 commissioner.
Leaving office after serving two, four-year terms, Hader is confident Canadian County’s elected leaders will “carry on” and be in “good shape” because they have a “good team” in place.
Hader was first elected as Canadian County’s District 1 commissioner in 2014, succeeding Phil Carson. He was re-elected to a second term in a contested 2018 election.
Yukon’s Tom Manske defeated Hader, 3,129-2,843, in the June 28th Republican primary to claim the next four-year term starting Jan. 1.
Hader expressed his appreciation to Canadian County officers, supervisors and staff, calling it an “honor” to serve with them over the past eight years. They receive both criticism and glory for the work they do – oftentimes unjustly, he noted.
The departing District 1 commissioner shared a famous quote from President Theodore Roosevelt.
This is the full text of the “Citizenship in A Republic” speech that Roosevelt gave on April 10, 1910:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds might have done them better. The credit belongs to the one who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasm, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Too few people are willing to “step up and serve” these days, according to Hader.
“It’s been an honor to do so,” he added, sharing his appreciation to Manske and new District 3 Commissioner Tracey Rider.
Canadian County Commission Chairman Dave Anderson said he loves the Teddy Roosevelt quote that Hader recited.
In fact, District 2 commissioner had those words engraved on a retirement plaque that he presented to longtime county government employee Wes Higgins.
“I love the message of it,” Anderson said. “It does take some courage to step out there and to try to do your best to lead.”
Commissioner Hader said it was “a lot more fun” to serve in elected office during the early part of his term than it’s been in recent years.
“Society is splitting more than coming together,” he noted. “There’s not oftentimes a lot of appreciation when good things are done.
“And there’s a lot of criticism, sometimes, even when there are good things done. I think we’ve gotten a lot of good things done.”
At a recent farewell reception, Hader highlighted accomplishments Canadian County has seen during his tenure:
- Construction of the Canadian County Expo & Event Center, which has spurred economic development and tourism.
- Development of Cardinal Point to help domestic violence survivors.
- Promoting the county’s Human Resources department and enhancing technology security services.
- Rebuilding and overlaying some 100 miles of road in District 1.
- Development and improving partnerships with municipalities in Canadian County.
- Road improvements in the Oklahoma City limits of Canadian County, due largely to the election of OKC Council Members Barbara Young and Bradley Carter.
- Upgrading the equipment and shop at the District 1 yard.
- Lobbying efforts at the State Capitol that have helped the county’s quadruple maintenance and operation funds for road and bridge projects.
Chairman Anderson offered thanks to Hader, who he served alongside since January 2015.
“It’s been a good eight years, and you’ve got a lot to be proud of,” the District 2 commissioner said.
Finally, new District 3 Commissioner Rider credited Hader for his service.
“It’s been an honor to get to know you, and I appreciate your help,” said Rider, who succeeded new state Sen. Jack Stewart in office.
In closing, Hader said, “I’ll be around.”
Hader’s wife, State Rep. Denise Crosswhite Hader (R-Piedmont), was reelected this year to a new two-year term representing House District 41.