Archive for Thursday, April 7, 2005

Lansing voters re-elect Bernard

April 7, 2005

Going into Tuesday's election, longtime Lansing Mayor Kenneth Bernard said he hoped to leave office on his terms - by winning one more term.

Lansing voters granted that wish, giving Bernard another four years on top of the 20 years he's already served as the top elected official at Lansing City Hall.

Bernard carried three of the city's four wards and received 1,237 votes to defeat challenger Harland Russell, who picked up 1,090 votes.

"You are always hopeful to win; that's why you run," Bernard said Wednesday morning, adding that during the campaign he never thought his re-election was assured. "I thought it would be close, and I said that from the start."

Bernard had the backing of six of eight council members and campaigned on a platform that all of the pieces of the puzzle were in place for the city to boom.

During the campaign, the city announced a new office and retail development was planned in the 400 block of North Main. It also signed an agreement with the Kansas City firm Kessinger/Hunter & Co. for development of Towne Center, a 32-acre site adjoining Main Street between West Mary Street and 4-H Road that is envisioned as the city's new Central Business District.

They're among a bevy of projects coming online for the city in the near future.

"The top priorities are the same still," Bernard said. "There's the Main Street project next year, Towne Center, economic development, and we'll continue to work on the new city park."

Russell, a Ward 4 council member the past nine years, attributed Bernard's win to his long tenure.

"Anytime you go up against someone who's been in office 20 years, it's tough," he said.

But the nearly 1,100 votes Russell picked up took some of the sting out of his defeat.

"We're certainly not happy with the overall outcome," Russell said Wednesday morning, "but we're proud of the way we ran the campaign. We worked hard and kept everything on a positive note. We just came up a little short."

Russell said he was happy to see momentum build during the campaign for two projects: an initiative to get youths more involved in city government and planning for a new city park.

With two more years remaining on his council term, Russell said he'll continue pushing for a better Lansing.

"We'll stay in there and keep moving forward," he said.

In addition to the mayor's race, four council members were unopposed on Tuesday's ballot. David Trinkle Jr. was re-elected to his Ward 1 seat; Don Studnicka will return as a Ward 2 council member; Billy Blackwell Jr. won in Ward 3; and Kenneth Ketchum received another term as a Ward 4 representative.

Results from Tuesday's election are unofficial until the Leavenworth County Commission certifies results after a canvass of votes on Friday.

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