Associates square off in Marion election

Two long-time business associates who were unaware that they were each filing for election seek a Marion City Commission seat in the April 2 vote.

Larry McLain and Keith Collett even sound a little alike in their desires to bring economic advances and correct aging infrastructure in Marion.

Collett is McLain’s company attorney. McLain is vice-president and treasurer of Shawmar Oil & Gas Inc., which operates from newly remodeled headquarters on East Main.

The winner of their contest will succeed Bud Pierce as city commissioner. Pierce was appointed to finish the term of Larry Reiswig, who moved to Salina.

McLain, who has lived in Marion since 1979, and his wife, Linda, have three grown children.

Collett is a lifelong Marion County resident. His wife, Anne, and he have three children: Hank, 12, Lucy, 10, and Kitty, 7.

Collett is a partner in the firm of Brookens and Collett.

In regard to the city seeking to locate a regional landfill near Marion, both men say, the voters of Marion said no in the advisory election, and it is time to move on to other considerations. They said too much time already has been spent dividing the community with the issue.

Each said they could even be comfortable voting for the other candidate, although McLain said he would want to make sure Collett continues on the school board because of his value there.

McLain has worked in summer recreation, especially with baseball programs.

Collett said the primary issues for the city have already been defined by previous commissions, especially the one of replacing aging infrastructure.

He said: “We have many very old sewer and water lines that need attention. I would also continue to work for economic development. I would like to see us expand our housing, and bring existing housing to acceptable standards.

“Economic development follows housing. Potential employers aren’t going to bring employees here unless we have places for them to live.”

McLain said: “I would like to see some growth and some industry, more opportunities for the young people and others in Marion. I would work for economic activity in the industrial park.

“The assisted living facility and opportunities for our senior citizens are important.

“With our location between two lakes, with good hunting all around, our schools and hospital, this is a great place to come to. We need to expand on that.”

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