In Bonner, mayor goes unopposed
Mayor Clausie Smith remains the only unopposed candidate for a Bonner Springs city office in this spring’s elections, but all other positions are contested thanks to four candidate filings in the last week before the filing deadline.
As he promised he would, incumbent Ward III council member Bob Reeves filed for re-election Friday, and two new faces to the council also became the second candidates to file for their respective seats: Eric Freeman filed Jan. 21 for Ward IV, while Bret Clark filed Monday for Ward II. Racheal Haas was the last to file in Ward II, shortly before the noon deadline Tuesday.
A primary election will not be necessary in Ward II due to a state law that took effect last year, which requires at least four candidates to file for a seat to necessitate a primary.
Freeman, 48, has lived in Bonner Springs for the last 12 years. He is the father of two grown sons in the Marine Corps and a daughter who recently graduated from Kansas State University.
Freeman said now that his children are grown, he decided to run for city council because he wanted to serve the community he calls home.
“I recognize where the city has been going in the last 12 years and what the future could hold,” he said. “I think it’s very promising, and I’d like to be a part of that.”
A sergeant for the Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Office, Freeman doesn’t have any political experience, though he is known in the community as a member of the First United Methodist Church of Bonner Springs, the Bonner Springs YMCA and the Fraternal Order of Police.
Freeman said he has sat in on a few council meetings in the past and has kept up with the topics the council has been discussing. However, he said he didn’t have any specific areas he would work on if elected.
“I’d just like to see the community continue to grow,” he said. “I recognize that people from Bonner are proud to live there, and hopefully we will see more people come live here and more businesses.”
Freeman will face incumbent Wayne Gray, who filed for candidacy previously.
Clark, 47, has lived in the city since 1979 and became a candidate in part at the urging of current Ward II council member Jerry Jarrett.
“He called a while back and told me that seat was going to be available because he was going to retire,” Clark said.
Clark is an equipment operator for Capital Electric and is the father of three sons ages 16 to 24 and has one grandchild. While he has no political experience, Bonner residents may know him as a member of the Smokerz n’ Jokerz barbecue team, which has competed in many local competitions, including the Tiblow Days and AutumnFest contests.
Though he has never held public office before, he said he has attended council meetings in the past and keeps up with the topics they discuss. He said he would like to be seen as the voice of the middle class if elected.
“I think it’s really important that some of the say comes from common people, not necessarily just business owners or the upper-middle class,” he said.
He also said he would like to see the council do a better job of fully explaining issues before they are approved.
“Sometimes when they’re passing issues, especially in public forum, they tend to talk about the main issue but they don’t dig into it — maybe we don’t have all the details that we should,” he said. “I think there’s a definite lack of disclosure on a lot of issues.”
Because Ward II covers most of downtown Bonner, he also has an interest in its development.
“I think that area down there is very important as far as the history of the city and making sure right decisions are made for the downtown area,” he said.
Along with Clark and council newcomer John Robison, Racheal Haas filed Tuesday morning for the Ward II seat.
The Chieftain was unable to contact Haas before press time Wednesday. According to past articles in The Chieftain, Haas ran for the seat in 2007 but lost to Jarrett. Her husband is a Bonner Springs police officer.
Watch for more information from Haas at bonnersprings.com.
Incumbent Bob Reeves filed to run for re-election to his Ward III seat Friday. David Toland previously filed to run against him. In Ward I, incumbent Lloyd Mesmer will face Jack Knight.
Final candidate list for Bonner Springs City Council
Mayor: Clausie Smith (i)
Ward I: Jack Knight, Lloyd Mesmer (i)
Ward II: Bret Clark, Racheal Haas and John Robison
Ward III: Bob Reeves (i), David Toland
Ward IV: Eric Freeman, Wayne Gray (i)
(i) = incumbent