More candidates throw hats in spring election ring
With less than a week to go before the filing deadline, more candidates are adding their names to the ballot for this spring’s local city, school district and county elections.
Bonner Springs now officially has two candidates for mayor, while the Unified Government has three; Edwardsville has two new council candidates, while an incumbent and challenger have filed in Bonner; and two more candidates bring the total to four who are running for one of the three seats on USD 204 Board of Education.
As he promised late last year, Jeff Harrington has filed to run for mayor of Bonner Springs. Harrington is now a member of the city council representing Ward 4, though his current term will end in April.
Harrington served on the planning and zoning commission for a dozen years before first joining the council in 2001. He said that is why he decided to run for mayor rather than a fourth term on the council.
“I think experience is going to be real important in the near future with the leadership of Bonner,” he said, explaining things likely will continue to be tight with the state cutting its funding, and he believes he can help. “Bonner’s on a hinge-point, and it’s real important that we continue to benefit our citizens as much as we can and keep their best interests in the forefront on a lot of different issues.”
Jack Knight, currently a Ward 1 Councilman, previously filed to run for mayor. The mayor’s term is the only elected seat this spring that is a two-year term rather than four.
No candidates have filed to run for Harrington’s council seat at this time, but George Cooper also filed Monday to run for re-election to his Ward 1 Bonner Springs City Council seat.
Cooper received a challenger to his re-election the next day, when Don Beets also filed to run for the Ward 1 seat.
The Chieftain did not immediately receive a response to its request for comment from either Ward 1 candidate.
Two current Edwardsville Planning Commission members have filed for Edwardsville’s two at-large council seats up for election.
Jason Gillam and Bryan Smith both filed to run for council. Gillam states on his campaign website that he is an assistant director of business Operations with the Blue Valley School District and volunteers as a coach for the YMCA.
“I have really enjoyed serving on the Planning Commission and believe that my business and finance skills will benefit the city,” Gillam told The Chieftain Tuesday. “I’m interested in what’s best for the citizens of the City of Edwardsville and will be an unbiased representation of the silent majority of its citizens.”
The Chieftain was unable to reach Smith for comment.
Mark Bishop and John Eickhoff currently hold the seats on the council but have yet to file for re-election.
The final incumbent for the school board, Jeff Barger, filed for candidacy Thursday. Barger first ran for the school board in April 2011 but lost by just six votes. Three months later, he was appointed to the board to fill the seat left vacant following the death of Lewis Wood.
David Toland also filed to run for school board Tuesday, Jan. 8. Toland ran for Bonner Springs City Council in 2011 and served as a soccer coach at Bonner Springs High School from 2000 to 2006.
Toland said now that his son is in elementary school, he wanted to be more involved in things that directly impact his children and carry on his parents’ legacy: his father served on the Edwardsville City Council and his mother served on the USD 204 Board of Education.
As a training director for the Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Office, Toland also is concerned about school safety given the recent school shooting in Connecticut.
“I know I have a wide variety of skills I can bring to the school board,” he said.
Finally, two more candidates have filed to run for Mayor/CEO of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan.
Current Unified Government Commissioner Mark Holland filed Thursday, Jan. 10. Holland has been an at-large Unified Government Commissioner since 2007.
Ann Brandau-Murguia filed Monday, Jan. 14, to run for the position.
Nathan Barnes, also a current Unified Government Commissioner, filed to run for Mayor/CEO in late November.
Wendell Maddox, LaVert A. Murray and Steven Samuels also have added their names to the list of candidates for the Kansas City Kansas Community College Board of Trustees. Incumbent J.D. Rios previously filed for the board.
The deadline to file for seats in the April election is noon, Jan. 22.