Becker selected next 1st district commissioner

Kent Becker of Durham will succeed Lori Lalouette when her resignation takes effect March 20Kent Becker of rural Durham will replace Lori Lalouette, who is resigning as 1st District commissioner March 20.

In addition to 15 delegates attending the convention at the Scout House in Hillsboro Feb. 16, about 25 visitors witnessed the procedure.

Two other candidates, Jared Jost and Craig Dodd, were nominated by Cynthia Fleming and Clint Seibel, respectively, when the Marion County Republican Central Committee met.

Rose Davidson, vice-chair, serving as the convention’s spokesperson, said Todd Heitschmidt, chairman, was unable to attend for personal reasons.

Davidson then asked for nominations.

Jessie Wiebe, one of the 15 delegates at the meeting, was also filling in as proxy for Ron Duerksen and Fran Duerksen with the nomination being Kent Becker.

“Kent has served on various boards, such a USD 410 school board, Marion County Planning and Zoning, Durham City Council, Marion County Community in Schools,” she said. “Presently he’s serving on Fire District No. 14.”

“When the 1st District position was open at the last election, many people encouraged Becker to run,” Wiebe added. “Becker was considering the position, but said he didn’t think he had enough time to devote to it.”

Wiebe said Becker knows how to listen to people’s concerns, and relay information to come up with a solution.

Becker said: “I believe in the future of Marion Coun­ty. We are a large county with a small population.”

Becker said he felt good about the steps the commissioners took in approving funding for a new economic development task force.

“I just feel like with the time I put in on various boards, and the concern I have being born and raised in this county, I think I am qualified for this position,” Becker said. “And I would be honored (to serve).”

He and wife Ginger, live in rural Durham and have two sons and four grandchildren.

Davidson said the candidate who wins must have a majority of the votes, and with 17 eligible members, voting in-person or by proxy, the majority of votes must total nine.

The final vote was: Becker with nine votes, Jost with five and Dodd three.

Marion County Clerk Tina Spencer said Kansas statute requires this type of scenario to fill a vacancy.

“Because Lori is a Republican, then that party is who selects the replacement,” Spencer said.

The 1st District has 18 delegates, but only 17 positions are filled, she added. One more precinct committeewoman is needed from Logan Township.

“County-wide, there are 62 delegates if all the positions were filled,” Spencer said.

Other candidates

Cynthia Fleming nominated Jost for the 1st District seat.

“I have known Jared for a long time,” she said. “Jared owns his own business, but that business is not an 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.”

His hours, she said, are flexible and will allow him to attend meetings and also meet with citizens to listen to their views or concerns.

“Jared has spent a lot of time in community organizations,” she said. “He is currently vice-chair at Salem Home, serves on the advisory board of Hillsboro Community Hospital, the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce, Hillsboro Community Foundation and many other boards,” Fleming said.

She cited other attributes, such as his agricultural background, he is approachable and a gifted listener.

Clint Seibel nominated Craig Dodd, noting he was on the ballot last time it went to a vote. “Had he received two or three more votes, we probably wouldn’t be here,” Seibel said. “It was a very close vote at the time.

Dodd is a businessman in Hillsboro and has been here many years, Seibel said. “I believe he would make a commissioner that would analyze each of our situations.”

The 17 precinct committeemen and women attending the convention were: Pa­tricia Christiansen, Wayne Geis, Debra Geis, Roger Fleming, Cynthia Fleming, Cleobeth Friesen, Lyndon Thiessen, Jesse Wiebe, Loren Wiebe, Norma J. Tippin, Richard Tippin, Warren Unruh, Clint Seibel, Delores Dalke and the two delegates by proxy.

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