Candidates for two biggest contested city races speak up

Hear from the candidates for the two biggest contested city races.

Mayor of Marion


Martin Tyce

Martin Tyce

Why are you running for mayor?

As the current mayor I feel Marion is moving in a positive direction. We have new businesses in the community, businesses that have expanded, construction of the joint project with the school district, the improvement at the water plant, streets that have been improved and a positive attitude in the community to name a few of the pluses.

At the same time we have to continue to work for growth and improvement. I feel I can help in this area and would like to see the progress continue and projects completed.

How would you define the job description of mayor in Marion?

With the mayor-council form of government we have adopted in Marion, the mayor votes, as do the council members. The mayor has the responsibility to serve as chairperson for the council meeting.

Additionally, the mayor is asked to represent the city at various functions and help the city administrator to set the agenda for council meetings, but any council member can place items on the agenda.

The mayor has to work with the members of the council to set the goals for the city with the city administrator and city employees working to carryout those goals.

To continue to see Marion grow and progress requires that all groups of the community must work together. It is the responsibility of the mayor and the council to work to see that this happens.


What life experiences have prepared you for this role?and how?

I have served as an educator, school administrator, a business manager working with finances and budgets, served on boards, worked with governmental agencies, been in private business and worked with the public during my career.

This background provides me with a wide range of experiences that I can bring to help resolve problems that face the city.

It also allows me to look at situations from many different viewpoints and understand the concerns of various groups within the city.


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Mary Olson

Mary Olson

Why are you running for mayor?

My interest in civic affairs was the deciding factor in running for mayor. I have been concerned with the timely completion of projects.

Last year, I supported the change to a council with five members. This year, I decided I would take this opportunity to add a new voice with a fresh perspective to the city council.


How would you define the job description of mayor in Marion?

The role and responsibilities of the mayor of the city is authorized by Kansas law. The mayor-council-manager form of city government calls the city manager to administer the affairs of the city under the direction of the mayor and council, who set the policy for the city.

I believe the mayor has the responsibility to set the policy for the city that reflects the concerns of the community and for the betterment of its citizens. The mayor must be responsible to the community by making sure the affairs of the city are administered in a timely manner.

The mayor should be trustworthy and dedicated. I believe the mayor must be fiscally responsible. As mayor, these are responsibilities I will not take lightly.


What life experiences have prepared you for this role?and how?

I hava been a Marion County resident all my life. I grew up on a farm in the Peabody area and then married a farmer from Lincolnville. To have a successful business, the experience of growing up on a farm and helping my husband in our farming operations instilled in me the importance of being fiscally responsible.

I have been an educator all my life. This profession has instilled in me the importance of preparing within the youth of the community a desire to become productive citizens.

Of course, serving the community as a teacher has helped me to have experience in working with the community. I have served District 408 as a substitute teacher since moving to Marion.

In Lincolnville, I served on the city council for 15 years. During that time, I served as city clerk, council member and mayor. This experience will be of benefit because even through the town was not as large, the same day-to-day operations had to be met under the watchful eye of the community, county and state.

I moved to Marion in 1996. Since then I have been involved in many Chamber of Commerce committees, activities and events. All of these have helped me gain insight into the day-to-day operations of the city.

I am a director of the Marion City Historical Museum. This experience has given me appreciation for the history of this city.

As a director I want to be a guide to preserve the past. As mayor, I want to lead the city to progress in the future.

Lastly, the experiences in the leadership roles I have had in many organizations prepared me to know the importance of fulfilling the responsibilities of the position.


Hillsboro City Council

Matt Hiebert


Matt Hiebert

In a nutshell, I?m running for a fourth term because I?ve enjoyed the previous three. Serving on the council been a good way for me to try to give something back to a community that has been good to me basically all of my life.

During these past six years, it?s been gratifying to be part of some significant projects that will make a positive difference for Hillsboro?today and in the future. Three of the largest ones were the renovation of Main Street over a three-year period, the completion of the Family Aquatic Center and the major upgrades that were made at the water-treatment plant.

Being involved with these projects, as well as helping to set direction for our dedicated city staff in the week-to-week responsibilities of city government, has been an ongoing learning experience for me. Not every experience has been easy or enjoyable, but each one has been valuable.

I?ve also learned a lot through the leadership classes I?ve taken through the League of Kansas Municipalities. Currently, I?m halfway through the second of three levels the academy offers. I feel the things I?ve learned have made me a more effective council member.

I?ve also learned a lot while representing Hillsboro in other arenas, including the Kansas Municipal Energy Agency and the Marion County Water Quality Board, which has been addressing the blue-green algae situation at the reservoir.

In each of these situations, I hope I have helped make Hillsboro a better place to live, work and raise a family. I would be grateful for another opportunity to reinvest what I?ve already learned?even as I keep learning new things.


How would you define the job description of a city council member?

A city council member works for the citizens of the community. You report to them, you are their voice. I believe that even though you are elected by a particular ward?in my case the East Ward?a council member works for the whole city.

Because of that, I appreciate everyone who comes in to talk to me about city issues?and I?d like to get even more input. We may not always agree on every issue, but I welcome a variety of perspectives because it helps me do my job better.

Technically, the work of a city council member is done during our twice-a-month meetings, but in reality the job is much more involved than that. Frequently, we have special meetings, and at odd times of the day. Also, a variety of other obligations and opportunities arise within or beyond Hillsboro.

Fortunately, being a business owner has given me enough flexibility in my daily schedule that I can participate in these other aspects of city council work. And I?m grateful to my customers for being understanding when they need my professional services.


What life experiences have prepared you for this role?and how?

My six years of experience on the council certainly prepares me for a possible fourth term. But beyond that, I believe my business career has helped me be a useful council member.

A council member is first and foremost a public servant. As a plumbing and heating specialist, I interact with the public practically every day?and have done so for more than 26 years. I think that?s been a benefit because people in the community know me and feel comfortable talking to me. Also, my professional experience has come in handy when the council addresses technical issues related to the water plant, city codes, housing developments, sewer lagoons and the like.

Finally, as a small business owner, I understand the importance of making effective business decisions and the value of a dollar?especially when that dollar comes from the pockets of taxpayers who work as hard as I do to make a living. I am pleased that our city mill levy has remained virtually unchanged during the years I have served on the council.


Shane Marler

Shane Marler


Why are you running for city council?

Since moving to Hillsboro, my wife and I have been able to thrive and grow. We?ve met many wonderful people and have had great opportunities here?the town has really embraced us.

Volunteerism and community service are important principles in our household and we?ve volunteered quite a bit over the years.

The most rewarding for me has been volunteering at the elementary school, teaching guitar lessons to students.

But, I have the desire to contribute more to my community. I have more to offer, and being on the city council will be the perfect way to give back to a community that has given us so much.

Many are satisfied with standing on the sidelines, criticizing about what goes on in our city. Instead, I?d like to be an active participant in the decision-making process and bring some positive leadership to the organization.

I have been pleasantly surprised by the amount of encouragement I have received since announcing my candidacy. Citizens I?ve never met before have stopped me just to tell me that they?re glad I?m running.

Overwhelmingly, people want to see a change and I wasn?t aware of that.


How would you define the job description of a city council member?

This is a subject I feel strongly about. I don?t think a person should be on city council for the sake of the title, or to pad a resume.

It is an elected position?you are a representative of your ward. You are not there for your own ego gratification. You are there to be the voice for the citizens in your ward.

When someone votes for you they are placing their confidence in you. Simply put, I want to represent the people, not represent myself!

In addition, I feel the job description extends beyond the twice a month meetings at city hall. I?m well aware of the numerous other meetings that take place that I?ll need to participate in, if elected.

A council member is always a representative of the city and should act accordingly. I?ll represent the community graciously and in a positive manner.


What life experiences have prepared you for this role?and how?

Being married to a city employee has given me a unique perspective that most city officials don?t get. I?m acutely aware of what daily challenges our employees overcome to provide high quality services.

The ?end product? is what we recognize?our trash picked up in a timely manner; the electricity staying on during storms; our clean drinking water; our safety.

Our employees work hard on weekends, the middle of the night and holidays to ensure that we have high quality services. I?ve been privy to many of these ?challenges? and it will make me a better council member. I rode the trash truck for a week when there was a shortage of employees; I?ve been to the 2 a.m. water leaks; I?ve assisted with numerous police training activities; I understand the work it takes to keep the sewer plant operating.

My knowledge gives me a strong foundation to understand the employee?s daily struggle a little better.

It will allow me to help provide them with the tools that will make them more successful, thus making our city more successful.

In addition, I?ve traveled a lot and have made it a point to experience different cultures. I can see beyond the imaginary border that surrounds Hillsboro.

I?m relatively new to the area, so I?m not burdened with negative feelings about our neighbors and I don?t hold any grudges toward someone who bullied me in middle school.

I?ve got fresh ideas and I?m a positive person. I?m creative and I understand people. That?s really what government on any level should be about.

Please visit my Web site at for additional information or to view questions asked by constituents.

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