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LWV forum introduces local candidates
Teenager Lexi Straub seeks office
Alexa (Lexi) Straub speaks at the League of Women Voters Candidates Forum, Thursday evening at the Great Bend Public Library. - photo by Susan Thacker

Candidates who will be on the ballot in contested races for local offices in the Nov. 2 general election spoke briefly Thursday at the Great Bend League of Women Voters Candidates Forum, held in the meeting room at the Great Bend Public Library. About two dozen community members attended in person, while others watched the livesteam online at

A total of 28 people running in contested races were contacted, and 14 attended the forum.

The youngest candidate to attend was 19-year-old Alexa “Lexi” Straub, hoping to fill a seat on the Cottonwood Extension District No. 17’s board of directors.

Straub said she was in 4-H for 13 years and while this is her last year she hopes to continue her involvement by serving on the board.

“I’m involved in more than just the county level; I’ve seen Extension in all parts of the tree. I was president of the Kansas State 4-H Leadership Council last year and this year I am vice president of the council; my term will end here in November, sadly, because I’ll age out.” She chairs a leadership committee and plans state events for 4-H youths. “I’m super involved with 4-H and all aspects of Extension.”

About the forum

Opening remarks were made by Janice Walker, president of LWV of Great Bend and Barton County. Mark Mingenback was the moderator. LWV is non-partisan but does encourage people to be informed and to vote.

Candidates each had one minute to introduce themselves and one minute to answer each of the two questions for their position. They also had one minute each for closing remarks.

Those attending the candidate's forum were:

Great Bend Council candidates for one seat on Ward 2, Chelsea Morris and Jolene Biggs.

Claflin Council candidates for three at-large seats, J.D. Linville and Dorian Hickel. Not attending: Robert Gunder, Dustin Daniels and Doug Hubbard.

Great Bend USD 428 candidates for three at-large seats, Deanna Essmiller, Jacqueline M. Disque and Chad Burroughs. Not attending: Donald Williams.

Hoisington USD 431 candidate Shawn Ludwig. There are three at-large seats. Not attending: Sara Tarlton, Traci Schneider, Matthew K. Beaver and Kevin Patterson.

None of the candidates for three at-large seats for Ellinwood USD 355 attended. The candidates are Whitney Asher, Jim Corbett, Craig Merritt and Stephen Billinger.

Barton Community College candidates for three positions on the board of trustees: Don Learned, John E. Moshier, Carl Helm, Sonya Rein and Tricia Reiser.

Cottonwood Extension District No. 17 candidate Alexa (Lexi) Straub. Two positions are on the ballot. Not attending, Lori Waters, Rita Stolz.

Some of the candidates have submitted information about themselves that is posted online at

The event was organized by the LWV of Great Bend/Barton County, Great Bend Public Library, Eagle Radio and the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce & Economic Development. Megan Barfield, president and CEO at the chamber, was the timekeeper.