Archive for Thursday, May 25, 2006

County official calling it quits

May 25, 2006

Don Navinsky has decided 12 years is enough.

Navinsky, the only Leavenworth County commissioner up for re-election, said in an interview on Monday that he doesn't plan on running again.

The filing deadline for the Aug. 1 primary election is noon June 12.

Navinsky, an Easton resident who's represented the first commission district for 12 years, says he's hopeful some qualified candidates step forward.

The 62-year-old Democrat said he doubts he'll have any trouble filling his days, if he doesn't take the oath of office in January.

"I'll catch up on all of the stuff that hasn't been done in 12 years," he said. "It's been quite a ride. I've really enjoyed it. I think I've brought a lot to it. We've got cooperation among cities."

Navinsky said that when he took office, the county and cities in the county were at odds. During his tenure, the county and cities banded together to build a new judicial center, funded by a one-cent countywide sales tax. And city and county officials successfully campaigned last year for an extension to that tax.

Navinsky said the three commissioner's jobs, which pay $44,877 annually, have grown substantially since he was elected in 1994.

"I think I set a pace I can't keep up with anymore," he said.

And although Navinsky has said in the past that he believes it's the voters who should decide whether to hire a county administrator -- he's changed his mind.

"If I ran again, I'd have to say, 'Hey, there's going to be an administrator,'" Navinsky said.

His change of heart, he said, underscores just how busy commissioners are.

"It's not just something that you can come in and do without doing your research," he said. "And you can't just be one-sided. You have to look at the whole county. I think I've done that."

This election season has proven to be a quiet one -- but that's not a surprise to Linda Scheer, who as county clerk is responsible for elections. Scheer pointed out that presidential elections attract the most voter and candidate interest. This is not a presidential election year.

"You're just not going to have the percentages of turnout, not compared to the presidential," she said.

But Scheer and her staff are staying busy because they will unveil new voting machines at the Aug. 1 primary election. During the 10 weeks until Election Day, the county clerk's staff will conduct voter training on the new machines. A full schedule of public training sessions should be available in the next week or two, Scheer said.

In addition to Navinsky's seat, these area offices are up for re-election:

  • State representative, 39th District, held for the past 14 years by Ray L. Cox, a Republican. Cox said Tuesday that he will not seek another term. Another Republican, Quentin G. Brewer, has filed for the seat, and Cox is throwing his support behind Brewer. "He's a good man," Cox said. Cox said it's time for him to leave the Kansas Legislature. "I'll be 73 when I get out, and I think it's time to smell the roses," he said.
  • State Representative, 40th District, held by L. Candy Ruff, a Democrat. Ruff has filed for re-election and, so far, faces no opposition.
  • State Representative, 41st District, held by Marti Crow, a Democrat. Crow has filed for re-election. She has no opposition so far.
  • State Representative, 42nd District, held by Kenny A. Wilk, a Republican. Wilk has filed for re-election. He has no opposition so far.
  • State Board of Education, 1st District, held by Janet Waugh, a Democrat. Waugh has filed for re-election.
  • All 10 township clerks.
  • Three members of the five-member Lan-Del Water Board.
  • Precinct committeemen and committeewomen.

These statewide offices are up for re-election:

  • U.S. Representative, 2nd District, held by Jim Ryun, a Republican. Ryun has not yet filed for re-election. Nancy Boyda, a Democrat, has filed for the seat.
  • Governor and lieutenant governor, held by Kathleen Sebelius and John Moore, both Democrats. Moore has said he would not be Sebelius' running mate in any bid for a second term. Two Republican teams have filed for election -- Dennis Hawver and Bret D. Landrith, and Richard Rodewald and Helen D. Kanzib.
  • Secretary of state, held by Ron Thornburgh, a Republican. Thornburgh has not yet filed for another term.
  • Attorney general, held by Phill Kline, a Republican. Kline has not yet filed for another term.
  • State treasurer, held by Lynn Jenkins, a Republican. Jenkins has filed for re-election.
  • Insurance commissioner, held by Sandy Praeger, a Republican. Eric Carter, also a Republican, has filed to run against Praeger.

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