Brookens, Hannaford, Spangler file for state representative seat

Staff reporter

A retired microbiologist, Spangler returned to his hometown of Burns eight years ago.

He served on the Peabody-Burns USD 398 school board for four years and decided not to seek a second term because he was considering the state representative position.

"I thought I might be able to do more on a state level," he said.

Spangler said he owes the people of his district because they supported him while he attended local schools.

For Spangler, education is one of the more important issues. He said he wasn't necessarily in favor of increasing costs but would like to have more value for the money that is spent now.

"I'd like to see an increase in the quality of education, maybe with fewer but more qualified teachers," Spangler said. He continued he would like to see less emphasis on sports and more on education and knows that would be difficult to change.

Spangler also would like to see more steps taken to curb the use of drugs — especially in schools.

With a biology and chemistry background, Spangler said he would be in favor of a coal-fired plant as long as it emitted a low concentration of sulphur and was a clean-burning plant.

"I would vote for it," he said.

Another controversial issue, Spangler said, was alternative fuel plants.

"The reason for the controversy is because by using the agricultural product, it puts farmers in a bad place because it drives up the cost of the product and increases the demand but it takes away the profits from the livestock industry," he said.

Spangler said he would promote alternative fuel plants but would require the operations to recycle the by-products and make sure some of the profits are used to research alternative feed stocks.

A graduate of Burns High School, Spangler received a master's degree in microbiology and biochemistry at Kansas State University.

He worked for two years for U.S. Public Health System in Cincinnati, Ohio, developing a microbiology medium for testing fecal chloroforms in water.

Spangler returned to school at Oregon State University and earned a Ph.D. in microbiology, biochemistry, and microbial physiology.

He then worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Maryland, researching the effects of pesticide on micro-organisms.

For 10 years, Spangler worked at Mid-West Research Institute in Kansas City, Mo., and studied anaerobe organisms in sewage.

He said he is most proud of his work with degradation of methyl mercury.

During the fish scare 20 years ago at area lakes and reservoirs, the research institute studied the process of methylation, Spangler said, to determine how the methyl mercury was formed.

"In the process, we found that it wasn't the big problem that everybody thought it was," he said. A bacteria was found that destroyed the methyl mercury, thus eliminating the problem.

Spangler has a sister who lives in Newton and is engaged to Deanna Mahaffey of Burns.

As a state representative, Spangler said it was important to him to hear from constituents so he can help with the problems in Topeka.

"I never felt well-represented in the past. I haven't felt anyone really cared about what I thought. I do care what people think and if possible will try to do something about it," Spangler said. "I'm more about serving the people who elect me instead of serving myself. I don't have a vested interest other than doing what's right."