Six candidates vie for two commission positions

by Patty Decker and Aleen Ratzlaff

Marion County candidates have their sights set on unseating incumbent commissioners in the second and third districts.
Michael D. Beneke, Brett Hajek and incumbent Daniel Holub are all vying for the seat in the 2nd District in the primary on Aug. 2.
Amy Soyez, Stephen Rose, and incumbent Randy Dallke are also asking voters in the 3rd District to cast a ballot for them.
The primary election, an election official said, is held whenever three or more candidates are filing for the same position.
The two candidates with the most votes will then move on to the general election Nov. 8.
To help voters make informed decisions in casting their vote, each candidate was asked to answer four questions. The candidates are in the order as listed on the Marion Coun­ty 2016 primary election website.
The following are the responses by each candidate.

Michael D. Beneke
Why are you running for a county commission seat?
I looked at this four years ago, and I vowed a year ago if Dan (Holub) sought re-election, I would get someone capable to run against him or make time in my life to do it myself. Not finding someone else to run, I still feel strongly enough to do it myself.
What life experiences have prepared you to be an effective administrator of a county government?
From the early 1970s through the mid-1980s I worked in oil field drilling operations, and for five years I was overseeing oil drilling operations for Cascade Co., El Dorado. I was also employed by Marion County as a patrolman for four years, and for two more years was in oil production operations.
From 1993 to present, I am self-employed in farming and cattle. This successful operation has grown from four acres to 800 acres, and from a 35-head cow/calf operation to 5,000 head. I have a cattle feeding operation and currently farm about 1,800 total acres and handle an annual budget between $9 million to $12 million.
In addition, the operation owns and maintains over $3 million of equipment.
Why should people vote for you over the other two opponents?
I believe my friends, neigh­bors and many others throughout the county are looking for a change or a common sense approach to Marion County challenges for the future, which is the option I feel I can provide for them.
What do you see as the priority issue to address in our county?
I see the immediate issues as being county roads and bridges, emergency medical services, the court house windows and solving the washout problems on Kan­sas Highway 256.
As for economic development, where are we in the next 5 to 10 years? Our tax base is continuing to decline. Economic development needs to bring something in to stabilize this decline, equating to more housing and more jobs.
Bridges will be the long-range issue and how the county is going to replace the number of bridges in Marion County.

Daniel Holub, incumbent
Why are you running for a county commission seat?
I have always answered this question from the confines of the political process; this time I will answer from the heart. Years ago my enlistment in the Navy was coming to an end, and I was struggling with what direction to go with my life. During a church service on the deck of a ship at sea I heard a song based on a bible verse (Isaiah 6:8) that spoke to me about public service, and I have been working in that direction ever since. In my mind the song speaks to anyone in public service, whether for pay or as a volunteer.
What life experiences have prepared you to be an effective administrator of a county government?
I found that government is pretty much the same whether it be federal, state, or the local level. Twenty years in the military, a school board term, and 12 years as a county commissioner have provided me with an understanding of how government works as well as the pitfalls.
Why should people vote for you over the other two opponents?
That is a question for the voters. I have a 12- year track record, and I feel my actions have been consistent. For a voter that agrees with my performance, I assure you I will not change my values or priorities. For the voter that does not agree with my performance, I assure you also I will not change, so you should probably vote for one of my opponents.
What do you see as the priority issue to address in our county?
The primary issue Marion County needs to address, as well as all local governments statewide, is the “rape and pillage” of local governments and thus their constituents (voters) by the State of Kansas (Legislature and governor). Recent legislation is tying local government’s hands and disproportionally shifting tax loads to property owners (primarily home owners, small business and farmers). The easy answer is the election in November.

Brett Hajek
Why are you running for a county commission seat?
I feel that the representing board we have now has lost touch with the public’s wishes. The public’s complaints have been evident for some time. I do not believe that they have been addressed effectively or in some cases at all.
What life experiences have prepared you to be an effective administrator of a county government?
I took on running a business that I co-own with my brothers. This task, I believe, has prepared me for this office. You have lots of job titles as a business owner. The biggest challenge of a small business is allocation of money. I believe this is key better allotment of assets.
Why should people vote for you over the other two opponents?
I truly believe I can take this place back to how it was years ago. Yes, I would like to have your vote, but even more I would like you to go to the polls, examine the ballot and vote for who you think will do the best job. Record turnout shows your lawmakers that you are watching them.
What do you see as the priority issue to address in our county?
In the rural area, the primary issue is the failing infrastructure of the roads. It concerns me as I run a business out in the county. The water washing across the road and collapsing culverts are more common than not. Having to slow down for this costs lots of time. Not slowing down costs losts of repairs. This is what I believe needs to be addressed now.
The following three candidates are competing for the commission seat in the 3rd District.

Amy Soyez
Why are you running for a county commission seat? I am running for county commissioner in District No. 3 because I love Marion County, and think we can grow. I would like to help make a change for Marion County and help be the voice of the people.
What life experiences have prepared you to be an effective administrator of a county government?
I have a bachelor’s degree in Integrated Communications with a minor in Business Marketing from Wichita State University.
I am willing and able to talk to many people and most important—listen.
Why should people vote for you over the other two opponents?
Vote for me because I have talked to many neighboring counties and there are things they are doing, grants they have found, that we could use to help Marion County. I have experience talking to people and would love to take examples from other counties so Marion County can benefit.
What do you see as the priority issue to address in our county?
I would love to start a suggestion box within our coun­ty townships where people can anonymously write a suggest and solution for a concern in their area. Also, I am willing to listen to issues, but those who have issues need to help me come up with solutions.

Stephen Rose
Why are you running for a county commission seat?
I like a challenge. I like find­ing ways to help people, find the best in situations and being able to move forward. I am ready to face some new challenges to make the county a better place as well as grow personally.
What life experiences have prepared you to be an effective administrator of a coun­ty government?
Having served on the Pea­body City Council for 18 years and eight of those years as the president, I have learned the importance of listening to the community and making decisions that are in their best interest. I have also served on several other committees and civil groups such as Sons of the American Legion, volunteer Fire Department and in various positions—mostly as the treasurer.
Why should people vote for you over the other two opponents?
Simply—tradition is important to an extent, but change is essential. There are lots of voices to listen to, and many decisions to make—one can’t please everyone. I will have to handle the criticism, have a knack for finding the good in difficult situations and I am committed to making the best decisions for the betterment of the people as a whole.
What do you see as the priority issue to address in our county?
Being in a big county, we all hear about concerns. My job is to listen to those concerns and then find resources, build and im­ple­ment a plan to “fix” or lower the risk of the concerns. I am a team player. I will work with the communities that I serve and work with the other commissioners to insure that the county is able to efficiently and effectively move forward. We need to be more proactive than reactive.

Randy Dallke, incumbent
Why are you running for a county commission seat?
To make fair and logical decisions that effect all of Ma­rion County citizens. I believe in building a team of good county employees that can answer our citizens’ questions. Make sure that all aspects of county government is done correctly. I bring any problems in District No. 3 to be discussed at the commission table. I work in most of Marion County, personally see the good and unsatisfactory actions taken, and take time to visit with our residents.
What life experiences have prepared you to be an effective administrator of a county government?
I was a welding foreman for nine years of railroad employment. As foreman of people you learn to work with and listen how people will accomplish the task you have given them. Set goals for department heads to achieve. Having served as city councilman, mayor of Peabody and county commissioner has given me a vast knowledge of county government. You learn that you must try to keep taxes down and yet provide services.
Why should people vote for you over the other two opponents?
When I decided to run the first time, I visited the commission meetings to evaluate and learn. I would like you, the voters, to know that neither one of my opponents has been to a meeting. I wonder if either one is interested enough to show up. If given the pleasure to serve this next term I will continue to serve District No. 3 the best and friendliest way I can.
What do you see as the priority issue to address in our county?
Last week we heard of another longstanding business closing its doors. Undoubtedly, we need to support our existing businesses but also help grow a new business if we get the chance to. We have had a great group of business people form together and volunteer the effort to go out of the box to look ahead. It is the top priority to help this group and put a new face in this world for Marion County. Thank you for a chance to develop this opportunity.

Republican candidates
The following are Republican candidates with some competing for a specific local, county or state positions.
When there are three or more candidates filing for the same position in the same party, an election is held, according to the Marion County Clerk’s office.
The two candidates with the highest number of votes will move on to the general election Tuesday, Nov. 8.
National offices
• U.S. Senator
—Jerry Moran, Manhattan
—DJ Smith, Osawatomie
• U.S. Representative, 1st District
—Roger Marshall, Great Bend
—Tim Huelskamp, Fowler
State offices
• Kan. Senator, 35th District
—Richard Wilborn, McPherson
• Kan. Senator, 70th District
—John E. Barker, Abilene
• Kan. Representative, 74th District
—Don Schroeder, Hesston
County offices
• County Attorney
—Courtney Boehm
• County Clerk
—Tina D. Spencer
• County Sheriff
—Robert P. Craft
• County Treasurer
—Jeannine Bateman
• Register of Deeds
—Rebecca L. Wingfield
—DJ Smith, Osawatomie
• U.S. Representative, 1st District
—Roger Marshall, Great Bend
—Tim Huelskamp, Fowler
Democratic candidates
The following are Democratic candidates with some competing against an incumbent.
No democratic candidate filed for any of the county positions to include commissioner in the second or third districts, county attorney, county clerk, county sheriff, county treasurer or register of deeds.
On the state and national offices, no De­mo­cratic candidate filed for the Kan. Representative in the 74th District or U.S. Representative, First District.
National offices
• U.S. Senator
—Monique Singh, Kansas City
—Patrick Wiesner, Lawrence
State offices
• Kan. Senator, 35th District
—Levi Morris, Lyons
• Kan. Representative, 70th District
—Jo Swartz, Abilene

More from Hillsboro Free Press
TC men?s talent exceeds low prediction
Ten seniors and starters return to the Tabor men?s soccer team in...
Read More