Above: Randy Nies, the owner of the Evelyn Theater and Kountry Donuts, is running for County Commissioner Precinct 3.

Why do you want to be the Moore County Commissioner?

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I was born and raised in Dumas, and I chose to stay here and become part of the business community. I’ve owned the Evelyn Theater for about 25 years and Kountry Donuts for 15 years. Through that time, I’ve strengthened my involvement in the community and have stayed current on the issues.

I’m at a point in my life where it’s important for me to contribute beyond the business community. At my two businesses, there is always a lot of discussion about what’s going on in Dumas and Moore County, and I want to be a voice for the people in Precinct 3. I grew up in that area and know it well. I’m confident I can represent them while also working with the other commissioners toward the county’s growth.

How do you feel about the proposed truck relief route?

I can see both sides of this emotional issue. As a business owner, I can understand the concerns other businesses have, but having lived in Dumas all of my life, I’ve seen growth and the accommodations we have to make to ensure we keep growing. I remember when the storm drains were put in on Dumas Avenue in 1973 and the emotions it caused. The street was torn up during the construction, but those drains are now vital for our safety and the protection of the businesses on Dumas Avenue.

Growth always brings out healthy discussions, and that’s what we’re hearing now. It’s always important to hear both sides, and I trust my neighbors that when they’re able to see how changes will benefit us over the long term, we’ll work together. We should be excited that we’re having discussions about how to adapt to growth. There are communities who would love to be having this discussion about what to do about growth.

Do you have the wherewithal to stand up to people when they don’t agree with you?

I’ll use this example to answer that. Kountry Donuts is one of those places where people gather and spend time talking about issues. Sometimes, I’m involved in those discussions and might not always agree with one of my friends. However, it’s known that even when we disagree, we respect each other’s positions. People aren’t always going to agree with you, but you learn that you have to do what’s best for your community. I believe this. People will respect you when they know where you stand and aren’t just a people pleaser. It’s a mark of integrity when you have the reputation of staying true to your values.

Do you support the hospital expansion?

I support growth, but I also believe that all government bodies must operate transparently. I support a hospital that will provide services in a compassionate and respectful manner to all of the people in the district. Every community needs medical services, and because the county commissioners appoint the hospital board members, it’s vital that the commissioners are informed of all the steps of the hospital’s growth. When the hospital board and the county commissioners work together in a transparent manner that lets taxpayers know what is involved, then we can be certain we have the medical services we need.

The county’s budget will be tight next year because of low oil prices. Where would you make cuts?

That’s difficult to answer without having being involved in the budget process and knowing how much of a cut will have to be made. I can say that if there are any cuts, we should look at expenses that won’t affect how the county delivers services. Nor should we want to do anything that is going to cause anyone financial distress.

What are your strongest qualities?

I would say one of them is my 25 years of business experience. I’m an employer and own businesses where I have a lot of daily interaction with the public. Fortunately, that has allowed me to form personal relationships that go beyond business. People already know me and know that I have always been accessible and would continue to be as a commissioner.

My customers know I sincerely care about them, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to stay in business for 25 years. But that also goes back to having what it takes to make hard decisions at times, especially during a time of transition when we have to adapt to new technology and other improvements. Sometimes, customers aren’t comfortable with change, but they trust me and know that I’m committed to providing them with the service they love. I always make decisions with everyone’s best interests at heart.