EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the final story in a series of four, recounting the candidates’ forum hosted by the League of Women Voters of Great Bend on Tuesday night at the Crest Theater. Today’s article covers candidates for Barton County offices who are unopposed.
Six unopposed candidates for Barton County elected positions introduced themselves this past week at the Great Bend League of Women Voters forum.
“This is something we haven’t done in the past,” moderator Rose Kelly said. These candidates were not asked questions, but said a few words and were available after the forum to meet the public.
Here are some highlights from their remarks:
Don Davis, County Commission, third district
He is seeking his second term on the commission.
“I’ve been a resident of Barton County for all my adult life. My wife and I have three grown children, eight grandchildren, three greats and one on the way. I’ve enjoyed the last four years serving this community and I’d appreciate your vote for the next four years.”
Amy Schartz Mellor, County Attorney
She is seeking the office now held by Douglas Matthews, who is not seeking re-election.
“I am a native of Great Bend. I was born and raised here, went to high school and Barton Community College. I worked for the Great Bend Police Department for 13 years before spending two and a half years as an enforcement agent with the Lottery. I then went to the Pawnee County Sheriff’s Office for eight years before going to law school. My daughter graduated from K-State the same day graduated from Washburn Law School. From there I spent about two and a half years as assistant district attorney in Wyandotte County. I’ve been assistant county attorney here for six years. I have two daughters and four grandchildren and a great-grandchild. My husband is Bruce and he works for the KBI. I look forward for advocating for the citizens of Barton County as County Attorney.”
Pam Workney, Register of Deeds
“I am the current Register of Deeds for Barton County. The main thing I do in my office is record and preserve the documents that deal with real estate. I’ve been the Register of Deeds for the last four years. I was elected president of the Kansas Register of Deeds Association just this last year and I will start the term in January. I feel it is quite an honor to be elected by my peers to serve at the state level. I have received my Gold Status in education for statutes and things that pertain to my office. It’s been a privilege serving Barton County for the last four years, and I look forward to four more years of service to Barton County.”
Donna Zimmerman, County Clerk
“I’m your County Clerk and Election Officer. I’ve been privileged to work for Barton County for the last 35 years, starting in the County Treasurer’s Office for a year and then moving to the County Clerk’s Office. I was first appointed County Clerk in 1995 and have been able to serve the last 20 years. So I’m seeking another term. I must say it’s been a wonderful opportunity; I’ve seen a lot of changes in elections, and there are more changes on the horizon. On a side note, if anyone is interested in serving as an election board member we would certainly like you to call my office.”
Brian Bellendir, Sheriff
“It seems like just four years ago I was up here for the first time. I’m running unopposed this time. I want to thank the League and tell everybody that we appreciate the support that comes from the community for the Sheriff’s Office. I’ve been with the Sheriff’s Office since 1981; I started as a Reserve deputy sheriff and worked my way up through the ranks. Over the course of the last four years, we’ve attacked the drug problem as best we can. There’s more work to be done; we intend to continue that and keep the public informed. The local and state elections are the purest form of democracy. This is where your voice really, really, really counts. So the efforts of the League to get people registered and get the vote out – no matter how they vote – is greatly appreciated.”
James E. Jordan, County Treasurer
He is a new candidate. County Treasurer Kevin Wondra is not seeking re-election.
“Good evening, my name is James Jordan and I go by Jim Jordan. I’m a businessman here in Great Bend. My family and I have lived here for approximately 16 years. We have three children. My wife and myself have been married for 27 years. I’m looking forward to restoring credibility back into the office over there at the Treasurer’s Office, so I’d appreciate your vote.”