Will Ravenstein

Wellington Daily News

Wellington residents were treated to their first up close meeting with the candidates Thursday, July 20, at the Raymond Frye Complex.

A forum was hosted by the Women for Kansas - Sumner County, Wellington Area Chamber of Commerce and Sumner County Economic Develop, where the candidates were given five minutes to introduce themselves and give a response to two issues currently affecting their position in which they were vying for.

The five candidates for the Wellington USD 353 School Board, that will appear on the November ballot, went first. Followed by 10 of the 11 candidates that are competing for the three Wellington City Council positions.

The final group of candidates to make their way to the podium where two of the four candidates looking to become a member of the Cowley College Board of Trustees.

With the primary election being held for two of the races, Sumner County Clerk and Elections Officer, Debra Norris opened the event with important dates for citizens to remember, to include when advance ballots for mail ins began. Advance voting in the Sumner County Clerks Office is from Tuesday, July 25 to noon on Monday, July 31.

In the Board of Trustees race, the county will choose who they would like to see move on to the general election in November, with the top-two candidates moving forward.

On the other hand, only residents of Wellington will vote on the City Council positions. Each voter will be allowed to cast a vote for up to three persons, with the top-six moving to the general election Nov. 7.

Norris also talked about the legislation that passed in the state affecting elections in Sumner County.

“First piece is moving the city schools election to the fall,” she said. “This will be our first election for the city school elections. The oath for those offices will be in January. The second piece of legislation created a new trustee for the Cowley College Board of Trustees.”

The polls open throughout the county at 7 a.m. on Tuesday Aug. 1, and close at 7 p.m.

The crowd that gathered to hear the candidates speak heard messages from each candidate on the two biggest issued and how they would solve them.

Many stated, in the council race, that local economy and the status of the Sumner Regional Medical Center were issues they would like to see fixed.

This similar platform among the candidates could make the decision process harder for some local residents.

“I think it makes it harder,” Pastor Michael Nelson said. “It probably does make it harder until you get to know the candidate. Our issues are really much the same, if you go across the board with what they are saying.”

Nelson stated that he will take time to learn about candidates more.

“Just learning about their attitudes and hearts, to see if they were in this for themselves or for the community,” he said.

Michelle Schlitz, Women for Kansas, emphasized that the candidates all did a great job, and their focus on Sumner Regional Medical Center is an important one for Wellington.

“ It’s very important, and I’m glad to see that the candidates realize that,” she said. “That all of them realize it’s an important thing. Communities don’t thrive if they don’t have healthcare. They don’t have doctors, they don’t have a hospital, people won’t live in those communities.”