By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Ward 2 candidates Biggs and Morris talk to voters
Chelsea Morris, left, and Jolene Biggs take their seats before the League of Women Voters Candidates Forum on Thursday, Oct. 21. Both are running for Ward 2 on the Great Bend City Council. - photo by Susan Thacker

The only contested race in Great Bend on Nov. 2 will be for a Ward 2 seat on the City Council. The candidates are Chelsea Morris and incumbent Jolene Biggs.

At a recent candidates’ forum sponsored by the Great Bend League of Women Voters, both candidates had a total of four minutes each to introduce themselves and talk about why they are running.

Here is an edited report of what they had to say:


“My name is Chelsea Morris. I was born and raised in Great Bend and live here with my husband Levi and my son Warren and our two Yorkies. I am a photographer and my work has been published in places like the Wall Street Journal and Martha Stewart Weddings online. I am very proud to own a piece of Barton County history, and that is where my studio currently sits in the historic Allen Building downtown.

"I am excited to run for city council, and I’m looking forward to the challenges it may bring, and working on a few of my important issues, which would be the tax Question No. 3 (a .2% sales tax to help fund the pension for public safety personnel), as well as transparency in local government.”


“I’m Jolene Biggs. I grew up here also in Great Bend, graduated from Great Bend High School in Barton County. Craig, my husband, and I raised three children here; they went through the (school) system. I worked for over 40 years in the insurance industry, and have recently retired. I’ve gone from paid job to a non-paid job between the city council and Great Bend Economic Development. But when I was working in insurance, I did sales in commercial insurance, so I’ve worked with a lot of oilfield, I’ve worked with building contractors, I’ve worked with banks, I’ve worked with municipalities – so I’ve been exposed to a lot of different businesses and how they operate.

“I come from a large family, and I just want you to know that I’ve worked since I was 16, and I am fairly conservative with money.”

Why they’re running

Morris said the filing deadline was approaching and there were no candidates signed up to run in her ward when she decided to run.

“My husband and I were talking about it and we decided that being involved in your local community is very important and being involved in city government is also important.

“My experience ranges from branch management, PR and marketing, as well as photography – that is what my degree is in, but I’ve worked for several years in all those related fields. Having a business of my own and doing plenty of renovations on my property in downtown Great Bend, I understand the importance of cash flow and budgeting, and I hope to bring that experience to the table here."

Biggs said she has served for many nonprofit entities over the years and has always believed that people should “give back.” She also cited her experience on the city council as a plus.

“That was what led me to the city council. I love Great Bend and want to move it forward.

“And basically, I have experience. I serve on the city council now, I’m just completing four years, and I will say that it takes quite a few years to fully understand how the city operates,” she said.

“I’m wanting very much to grow the city, make the city a better place for all of us to live, and keep taxes down.”


Morris talked about the upcoming sales tax question on the Nov. 2 ballot, especially the one that would improve the pensions for police and firefighters.

“They could definitely use more support, now more than ever,” she said. “Instead of saying ‘thank you for your service,’ I think we need to start showing them our thanks for their service. That’s why I believe it’s important that we pass the tax rate for them and give them better facilities and a better pension.”

Biggs noted several infrastructure items, which account for a large portion of the city’s budget, and talked about what the city has been doing.

“It includes the airport, which the city has had a large investment in recently; the communications network – you know the city just went from the 400 megahertz (radios) in the last year or two to the 800 megahertz – that has brought us forward and now puts us even with the state and the county, and so they can correspond with each other. We also have the sewer and the water, which is huge.” She said the council sets money aside each year to stay ahead of expensive projects of that kind.

She started and ended her minute talking about roads.

“Everyone wants good roads but there’s only so much money that can be spent on roads,” she said. She noted that an engineer has put together a schedule of repairs based on need and use.

In conclusion

Morris used her final minute to elaborate on her previous answer, saying a better pension plan for first responders is a priority. She also stressed that she believes in transparency, especially in local government.

“I think there’s a lot of questions that people have in Great Bend and the surrounding communities about what is actually happening behind closed doors, where our tax dollars are going, how is everything being spent and what is the budget allocation. It’s important to put the put that information out there and let the voters decide.”

Biggs cited her experience and desire to continue serving.

“Having been on the council for four years, I understand the issues. I will do what is best for the community. I do not have a special agenda. I have retired and I’m able to spend the time and energy on the issues. ... In closing I think that we all try to make good decisions, and that’s what I try to do; I try to get all the extra facts so I can I study the issues. And so I ask for your vote on Tuesday, Nov. 2.”