County elections gain momentum
As the U.S. presidential race shapes up, several Leavenworth County hopefuls, too, have filed for elected positions, although, as of yet, each candidate is running unopposed.
All positions are four-year terms, with primaries held August 5 followed by a November 4 general election.
To be eligible, a candidate must be a resident of Leavenworth County, must file before the June 10 deadline and must either pay a filing fee or file a valid petition signed by at least 3 percent of registered voters.
The only newcomer to file, so far, is John Flower, a Bonner Springs republican who signed the necessary paperwork for 3rd District County Commissioner on Feb. 25.
Flower is vying for Commissioner Dean Oroke's vacant seat when Oroke steps down in January 2009.
The chairman of the Basehor Planning Commission, president of the Cedar Lakes Homes Association, treasurer of the Basehor Community Library and former sales consultant and manager with AT&T Inc., and SBC Communications Inc., for almost 35 years is running on a platform of fostering "intelligent, planned growth," creating jobs and improving communications between county government and Leavenworth residents.
"I think that Leavenworth County is right on the cusp of some really dramatic things happening," Flower said in an interview Wednesday, Feb. 27.
He added that, although he hasn't served as an elected official since graduating as class president from Turner High School in Kansas City, Kan., he has attended nearly every Basehor city council meeting and has become a regular at County Commission meetings since he and his wife moved back to the area five years ago.
"It became apparent here that (Leavenworth County) was a place where any individual could get involved," he said.
Also up for grabs in the November general election is Commissioner Clyde Graeber's 2nd District seat.
The 2nd District covers central Leavenworth County including the city of Lansing and Delaware Township.
Graeber has not announced whether he will run for re-election or not, but as of yet, no one else has filed for the position.
1st District Commissioner J.C. Tellefson, who was elected in 2006, will not be up for re-election until November 2010.
In the County Clerk's office, Linda Scheer, who has served dually as clerk and election officer for Leavenworth County since 1990, announced she will not seek re-election this year.
"I guess I was ready for a change," Scheer said, noting that she has two new grandkids and is ready for retirement.
Longtime deputy clerk Janet Klasinski, a republican who has worked in the clerk's office for over 12 years, filed to replace Scheer on Feb. 20.
Klasinski vowed to "continue the emphasis of customer service that has always been a part of the county clerk's office," and welcomed her potential role in paying bills for the county; handling budgets for commissioners and other departments; monitoring accounts payable and receivable for all county departments; computing the mill levy; conducting elections; and maintaining voter registration roles.
In a prepared statement, Klasinski said she is a certified county clerk in the state of Kansas and has completed mandatory election training through the Kansas Secretary of State's office. She is a lifelong resident of Leavenworth, where she lives with her husband Mark and four children.
Filing for re-election in the November general election were sheriff David Zoellner (Democrat), county treasurer Janice Young (Republican) and register of deeds Stacy Driscoll (Democrat).
For Zoellner, who filed Feb. 1, it would be his second term as head of the county's law enforcement agency.
The 61-year-old Leavenworth man reportedly wants to finish what he started in his first term. Projects he has been involved with include upgrading a countywide communications system, expanding the Leavenworth County Justice Center, creating parity in pay for detention officers and increasing patrol districts in the county.
Young, who filed for treasurer Feb. 21, has held the position since August 1998, when she filled an unexpired term.
She said she began working in the treasurer's office behind the vehicle registration counter in 1982.
"I really enjoy what I do," Young said. "It can be a challenging job, but it's something I really love doing."
As treasurer, Young is responsible for motor vehicle registration in the county, collecting and printing real estate taxes and distributing tax dollars to school districts, cities and the county.
"I'm very conscientious with county tax dollars," Young added.
County register of deeds Stacy Driscoll, who filed Feb. 22, will run for her third consecutive term.
The lifelong Leavenworth County resident worked privately for a local title and abstract company for 16 years before becoming register of deeds in 2000.
Her office deals with real estate documents, mortgages, death certificates and anything that deals with land records on a daily basis.