Tricia Schlessiger believes the fundamental role of the government is to balance the responsibilities of tax dollars with the needs of the people and provide compassionate help for those who are truly in need.
Schlessiger is running for Barton County Commission, District 4, a district she believes is geographically rural with an urban subset and unique needs.
“This District needs a voice that understands all those needs. I can be that voice,” she said.
“I will take the time to gather the information to make informed, level-headed decisions with the best interest of my constituents in mind,” she said.
Schlessiger said she believes in raising children in a county where they can flourish and stay, or choose to return as adults. In order to make Barton County desirable, she said we must provide opportunities for adults in the shape of rewarding jobs, quality housing, child care and education.
“We have to find a way to provide more daycare openings so that we can continue to attract young families to our community,” she said. “In Ellinwood, in particular, we have a need for additional housing for young families. The future success of our schools is going to depend on our ability to attract and retain these families.”
Schlessiger has experience in many of those areas, having served as a 4-H leader, volleyball coach, member of the St. John’s Lutheran Church, Ellinwood Rotarian, board member of St. John’s Child Development Center, member of the Facility Planning Committee for USD 355 and as a volunteer for many Ellinwood events. She combines this dedicated volunteerism with a vast education as Schlessiger holds a bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University in accounting and a graduate degree in banking from the University of Wisconsin.
“With my husband, Joe, we have raised six kids on our family farm,” she said. “With my farm background, my 20-plus years in the banking industry, and the numerous boards on which I volunteer, I provide a different demographic than my competitor.’
She said farming in many different areas of the county has allowed her the opportunity to travel many county and township roads. As a former township treasurer, Schlessiger understands road budget needs and maintenance requirements, as well. She doesn’t just see challenges; however, she said she is excited with changes going on county-wide.
“I am thrilled that Great Bend Economic Development has been opened up to help county-wide,” Schlessiger said. “This is a huge benefit to all communities. Grant writing is a huge portion of funding projects and they can assist with that and overall planning.”
Schlessiger thinks she can bring a fresh new angle to the commission.
“We need brave new leaders who are willing to think out of the box and find or create opportunities for Barton County to prosper without increasing taxes,” she said. “It would be my honor to serve District 4.”