Gail Turner has always been a part of the farming and ranching community in southwest Oklahoma. Gail was born and raised in Lawton, attending grade school at Flower Mound School before graduating high school at MacArthur in 1973. He then attended Cameron University, concentrating in agriculture until beginning farming and ranching full-time on his own.
In the early 1980s, Gail had a quick stint in financial business before venturing into dirt construction in the mid 1980s. Gail has always had an interest in local government and decided to run for county commissioner in 1998. He won that election, began his first term as county commissioner in January 1999 and has been re-elected three consecutive terms.
Turner prides his district for their concern and awareness for safety. A harmless challenge he gave to his employees about six (6) years ago has now turned in to a huge event attracting legislators from the state capitol and all across Oklahoma. Turner’s simple challenge is now a safety program which allows them to host a community-wide BBQ/Fish Fry every year as long as there have been “NO” lost-time accidents. Hundreds of people from the community come out each year to eat and mingle in support of the District’s job performance. As of June 1, 2009, Comanche County District 1 (eastern district) had completed nearly 500 consecutive days without a lost-time accident. “The employees take their record very seriously and are extremely proud of their accomplishment. They now hold each other accountable in every situation,” says Turner.
In addition to the safety of his district, Gail has been aggressive at the county level in changing working regulations to improve safety for ALL employees. Turner also takes great pride in providing safety to the citizens by effectively maintaining county roads, changing bridge locations and improving infrastructure.
Turner continues to work closely with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in order for Comanche County and its municipalities to stay compliant, allowing them to receive federal grants and reimbursements for disasters. Gail has also been an intricate part of combining city and county E-911 centers, working with the City of Lawton to locate and purchase CodeRed, an emergency notification system for citizens, as well as being on several committees which work closely with Fort Sill in planning and logistics for the upcoming BRAC movement which is expected to bring thousands of new military families to Comanche County.