A veteran Great Bend businessman, Chad Somers wants to bring that business acumen with him as he assumes a City Council Second Ward seat. He defeated fellow Republican James Breitenbach in Tuesday’s general election.
Replacing Jolene Biggs who did not run for reelection, Somers joins Joel Jackson in representing Ward 2. Somers received 1,074 votes, or 68.93 percent, to Breitenbach’s 477, or 30.62 percent.
The votes tallied as of the end of the night Tuesday are only preliminary. The votes won’t be finalized until the Barton County Commission, acting as the Board of Canvassers, canvasses the ballots next Tuesday morning.
“I had a lot folks who supported me,” he said.
“This is my first foray into this,” he said of politics. “I wanted to give back to the community that did so much for me. I’m excited.”
A 13-year resident of Great Bend, Somers and his wife Shannon have three children Ellyson, Ethan and Eli. He is a graduate of Kansas State University and co-owner of Golden Belt Cinema 6.
Former co-owner of Benefit Management Inc., he’s active investing in local businesses, real estate, agriculture and oil production ventures.
Somers said he ran for City Council to promote economic development and ensure strategic investments in people, infrastructure and technology “to position Great Bend for a successful future.”
First, within the city, he wants a complete and thorough human resource review, ensuring the city has the proper positions, staffing levels and market pay, and maintain consistent employee review and evaluation processes. He also wants to reestablish a positive culture, making employees proud to be a part of the City of Great Bend.
Secondly for the citizens, he said there is much to be proud of in Great Bend. By promoting leadership, the safety and security of the community, fiscal responsibility and economic development, he hopes to foster and build on this pride.
“Chad was a good opponent. He just ran a little better race than I did,” Breitenbach said. He thanked those who voted for him.
“Basically, my platform was more transparency and more public involvement in the city government,” he said. Although things seem to be sort of on idle now, “I think we are trending in a better direction.”
Breitenbach is an engineer for Dish Wireless. He is helping the company establish 5G wireless networks.
Somers will officially take office when he is sworn in at a January council meeting.