Retired army engineer and JROTC instructor at Dawson County High School, Robert Wiley is now officially on the ballot for the District 2 county commission seat to run against Chris Gaines.
The Dawson County Board of Elections and Registration verified the required signatures on Wiley's petition to run as an Independent candidate in the November general election.
Wiley needed 661 verified signatures of registered Dawson County voters to be added and the board verified 663, according to Chief Registrar Glenda Ferguson.
The seat is being vacated by two-term commissioner James Swafford, who did not seek re-election.
Gaines ran in the Republican primary against Tim Davis and won with 51.16 percent of the vote over Davis' 48.84 percent.
Wiley, 48, said he had plans to run for local office after retiring from education but when he saw that Swafford would not be running again, he felt the timing was right.
"The downside of that is that it was after the first qualification," Wiley said. "I went down and talked to the election office and asked them if I could still get in the election, and they said I could. I would just have to run as an Independent candidate."
Wiley said he considers himself a Republican.
"You know the bottom line is you are going to have to pay your dues either way you go, whether you run on Republican ticket or you run as an Independent. You run on the Republican ticket of course you have to campaign and have to win at the primary. If you run Independent, in my case, you are going to have to go around and knock on a whole lot of doors," he said.
Wiley knocked on a lot of doors and said that only about 10 people turned him down.
"I think if I would have jumped in on the primaries, if I would've been able to get in there, I would have been the third candidate. I don't think people would have known me well enough. It wasn't a conscience choice for me to run as an Independent, but it worked out better for me," he said.
Wiley said his top priority, if elected, is to make sure that the county budget is healthy.
"I want to keep the budget healthy. If you keep the budget healthy then you have got the power to do some things in the community," he said.
"If it strengthens families, it's good for quality of life and it strengthens our infrastructure, those are things that money should be spent on."
Wiley believes that his military and engineering background give him the skill set to solve problems and provide leadership for Dawson County.
"This is all exciting stuff and that keeps me interested because I am a problem solver," Wiley said. "That's what I did as an officer in the army. That's what people do, they call engineers to solve problems, that's what officers do in general.
Though he has lived in Dawson County for only two years, Wiley believes his conservative values make him a good fit for the area.
"I see what Dawson County is and when other people see it they are going to be attracted here and they are going to come here. So why would I leave? This place has everything I want. It is the perfect place for my family," he said.
Wiley has a master's in public administration from Webster University. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and has been married for 21 years.
He and his wife Sarah have three daughters and attend The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The general election will be held on Nov. 8.